Jennifer has always been what most people would consider a “people person.” No matter where she goes, she can make a friend or strike up a conversation to pass the time. She loves to be in the company of others and loves to help others however she can. This made her a perfect fit for a job with Visiting Angels, a company providing home care for older adults. But in recent years, Jennifer has struggled with her health. After a stroke in 2019, she had her first short term nursing home stay and was unable to continue working upon returning home. She was also learning how to manage her newly diagnosed diabetes.
In 2021, Jennifer stubbed her toe. Due to complications from her diabetes, the wound on her toe refused to heal despite frequent medical examinations. To further complicate the situation, Jennifer contracted a mild case of Covid which she believes exacerbated her wound; 11 days after testing positive, the pain and swelling became unbearable and sent her to the ER for inconclusive tests. With some difficulty, her PCP got her a podiatry appointment. She arrived with a foot three times its normal size and in excruciating pain. Her foot and leg were also becoming numb, and she was starting to experience chest pain. Her doctor suspected a blood clot, and immediately called an ambulance to take her to the hospital for emergency surgery to remove the clot that was now threatening her life.
Jennifer was terrified after learning of her condition. Because of Covid, she could not have her family with her for support. She prayed heavily and relied on God to watch over her. After a successful surgery, she was alone in the hospital for about a week. Jennifer was happy to be recovering, but still very distressed about not seeing her family, even after being transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation.
For a while, living at the nursing home was tough for Jennifer. She was the youngest person there and was often around older adults living with dementia. Because of Covid, she was mostly confined to her room and could not have visitors. She continued to pray and call on God to help lift her spirits. As her time there continued, true to her nature, she became very close with the facility staff and even some of the residents. She participated in all kinds of activities and helped other residents however she could. Jennifer explained, “That was my medicine.” She grew to love the Community, both staff and residents.
She continued healing and working on her mobility while starting to think about next steps. The facility social worker introduced Jennifer to the Money Follows the Person program. She was a good candidate as she needed to find a place to live and have home care services in place once she moved. She met with a care manager and transition coordinator who were driven to help Jennifer reach her goals. Like many people on MFP, the hardest part was finding housing. Jennifer was lucky to have an abundance of family and friends who were willing to help. After 3- or 4-months of patience and prayers, Jennifer’s niece found a brand new housing complex that was taking applications. Jennifer immediately submitted hers after seeing the beautiful, spacious units, many of which had a view of the nearby river. For Jennifer, her prayers continued working magic as her applications for the apartment and for rental assistance were accepted. On her transition day, Jennifer’s Family and transition coordinator eagerly helped set up her new place. With her transition budget through MFP, Jennifer’s transition coordinator purchased necessities like food, small appliances and pots and pans. Her transition plan also included physical and occupational therapy, a personal care assistant, and a visiting nurse. Finally, all the pieces came together allowing Jennifer to live successfully on her own again. Jennifer feels at home in her new apartment. This new chapter excites her, and she’ll never stop thanking God, her Family, and MFP for the opportunities. She’s joined a new church down the street from her Building. Even better, she’s quickly made new friend there who’ve offered to provide a ride for her every Sunday. Jennifer explained, “God answered all my prayers and more.”
MFP Demonstration Background
The Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration, created by Section 6071 of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, supports States’ efforts to “rebalance” their long-term support systems, so that individuals can choose where to live and receive services. One of the major objectives of Money Follows the Person (MFP) is “to increase the use of home and community based, rather than institutional, long-term care services.” MFP supports this by offering grantee States an enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage on qualified services. MFP also offers states the flexibility to provide supplemental services, such as assistive technology and enhanced transition services, to assist in successful transitions. States are then expected to reinvest the savings over the cost of institutional services to rebalance their long-term services and supports for older adults and people with disabilities to a community-based orientation.