Community Advocates Resolve To Bring "Money Follows The Person" Back
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 14, 2006
MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA--Community advocates in Alabama are determined to fight on after lobbyists for the nursing home industry effectively blocked a proposal to help some Alabamans with disabilities move out of nursing facilities and into their own homes in the community.
House Bill 169 would have established Alabama's "Money Follows The Person Program", which would have required nursing facilities to refer Medicaid eligible residents to the Department of Senior Services if they wanted to instead receive home and community-based services under a Medicaid waiver. The measure would have provided state funds -- to be supplemented by federal Medicaid dollars -- specifically targeted for current nursing home residents so they could bypass the waiting list.
Advocates' hopes were high last Tuesday, when HB 169 passed a House committee on a voice vote, and appeared to have support in the Senate.
But pressure from the Alabama Nursing Home Association kept the full House from passing the measure on Wednesday, the last day of the regular legislative session.
ANHA executive director Mike Jordan told the Montgomery Advertiser that his organization's members were "just not convinced that in the home setting that these individuals can be cared for as well as in a professional setting such as ours."
Supporters of the measure said they planned to bring the measure back next year, and predicted it will have a better chance of passing.
Ron Gilbert, a policy analyst with Alabama Arise, told Inclusion Daily Express that the bill "is in good shape for next year".
"As Alabama politics go, we made tremendous progress on this," he said in a telephone interview this week.
"Community nursing care proposal dies" (Montgomery Advertiser)
Text of HB169 Money Follows The Person (Alabama Legislature)