Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Federal Agency Awards $49 Million Grant to Kentucky for Alternatives to Nursing Home Care

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, May 15, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Vikki Franklin

Kentucky Among Just 13 States Chosen by CMS for Five-Year Project

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) announced today that Kentucky will receive more than $49 million over five years to build Medicaid long-term care programs that will help keep people at home and out of institutions. Kentucky was one of only thirteen states chosen by CMS.

“We are extremely pleased that Kentucky was selected as part of this vital project,” said Governor Ernie Fletcher. “Providing choice to Kentucky’s elderly and disabled individuals has been a key priority of ours since day one. This funding will help us begin to provide more alternatives that allow people to age at home, rather than in institutional settings, if they choose.”

Kentucky will receive $4.9 million this year, and $49.8 million over five years. Ultimately, CMS' awards to all 13 states will total $1.75 billion over five years (2007-2011) to help shift Medicaid’s traditional emphasis on institutional care to a system offering greater choices that include home and community-based services. This “Money Follows the Person” initiative was included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), currently being implemented by CMS. It is a component of the administration’s New Freedom Initiative, a nationwide effort to remove barriers to community living for people of all ages with disabilities or chronic illnesses.

“We have long recognized the need for more alternatives to help Kentuckians age in place if that is their choice,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell. “The federal government’s award acknowledges that Kentucky is on the leading edge of preparation for dealing with the needs of our senior population as it continues to grow in the coming years.”

The federal government estimates that states will be able to move more than 14,000 people into community settings using these grant awards, with Kentucky's funding accounting for the transitions of 431 people.

The Medicaid program traditionally pays for care for elderly and disabled individuals living in institutions who need help with activities of daily living. To fund home and community-based services, states must obtain waivers of normal program rules designed to pay for care in institutions.

CMS Acting Administrator Leslie V. Norwalk said, “The concept of money following the person to the most appropriate setting improves beneficiary satisfaction while reducing Medicaid costs. We intend to keep taking steps to remove barriers and rebalance the options for Medicaid-funded long-term care.”

For more details about the New Freedom Initiative, of which this demonstration is part, visit the CMS web site at: