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TribBlog: ‘Money Follows the Person’? Not exactly.

The federal Medicaid program designed to help disabled and elderly residents of institutions move back into the community hasn’t even gotten close to meeting its early goals, despite Texas' efforts.

The federal Medicaid program designed to help disabled and elderly residents of institutions move back into the community hasn’t even gotten close to meeting its early goals, according to a new study by non-partisan Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

The Money Follows the Person demonstration program gave $1.7 billion in funding to 29 states to transition some 34,000 people from institutions into their own homes or community-based care between 2007 and 2013.

But between 2007 and 2008, states moved fewer than 40 percent of the people they intended to move in the program’s first year.

It’s despite Texas’ best efforts. Texas more than met its first year transition targets; the state was supposed to move 592 people and actually moved 761.

But other states paled in comparison. New Hampshire and Oregon, which started the program at the same time Texas did, moved fewer than 29 percent of the people they expected to move. Wisconsin, which also started alongside Texas, moved just 8 percent.

The states that struggled complained of:

--A lack of affordable housing

--The economic downturn and worsening state budgets

--Problems or delays getting started

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