EMPOWER Care Act introduced to Congress
March 5, 2019
The EMPOWER Care Act (S.548/H.R.1342) was introduced in Congress to extend and improve the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration Project through 2023.
MFP provides states with enhanced funding to improve access to home and community-based services (HCBS). HCBS provide a wide array of supports and services – like housing and residential services – that individuals with autism use across their lifespan.
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia receive funding through the program and use it to assist Medicaid recipients to live in the community. Each state can decide how to use the funds, which they have used to expand or enhance HCBS programs, reduce waiting lists and fund housing supports.
The program benefits seniors, people with physical disabilities as well as people with developmental disabilities and serious mental illnesses.
Since the program’s beginning, over 75,000 individuals have received HCBS as a result of MFP; and according to the national project evaluation, participants report significant and lasting improvements in quality of life and community integration.
In addition, the MFP project has helped realize over $978 million in reduced Medicaid and Medicare costs by assisting states to provide more cost-effective care.
The MFP Project was first authorized by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and extended through Fiscal Year 2016 by the Affordable Care Act. In January, legislation was passed to provide short-term funding for the program. However, this funding extension ends in September 2019 and many states will likely run out of funding before that time.
Autism Speaks recognizes the critical importance of Medicaid-funded HCBS to individuals with autism and their families. We strongly support S.548/H.R.1342 to extend the Money Follows the Person Program.
We are dedicated to advocating for a spectrum of solutions, across the lifespan and advocating for increased access to and expanded capacity in HCBS so that all individuals with autism and their families have the lifelong supports they need.