CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two years after receiving federal funding, West Virginia's Money Follows the Person program has moved 20 disabled, elderly or mentally ill West Virginians from institutions back into their homes.
"We started accepting referrals in February," said Marcus Canaday, director of the program known in the state as Take Me Home, West Virginia. "We're transitioning people and the program is progressing. I'm very happy with the progress."
Canaday spoke about the program Thursday at an annual conference for the West Virginia Partnership for Elder Living, held at the University of Charleston.
Nationally, 45 states have Money Follows the Person programs. People are generally more satisfied receiving care in their own homes, and it's less expensive than caring for them in institutions, Canaday said.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid first awarded 30 states funding for the program in 2007. In 2010, under the Affordable Care Act, the CMS awarded funding to additional states, including West Virginia.
To qualify for the program, a person must be 65 or older, have a physical disability or have a serious mental illness. He or she also must have lived in a nursing home, hospital or mental institution for 90 consecutive days. By that 90th day, Medicaid must have reimbursed the hospital, nursing home or mental-health facility for a patient to be eligible for the Money Follows the Person program.
Officials hope to move at least 600 people to their homes by 2019, Canaday said.
"People are excited about the initiative because it's a good program," he said. "It makes a lot of sense for a lot of people to provide those services to people in their own homes when that's where they want to receive them."
While 20 people have been moved to their homes, 157 others have applied for the program and 149 have been determined eligible, Canaday said.
For referrals to the program, call 1-866-987-2372.
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.