Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Money Follows the Person and OOIE: Perfect Together
In New Jersey, the Money Follows the Person program is a joint partnership between the NJ Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services, Division of Aging and Community Services (DACS). The DDD is focusing primarily on moving people with developmental disabilities from state institutions and DACs and the OOIE are focusing on moving people from nursing homes into homes in the community.
"The trend nationally and here in New Jersey, is to move people from the most restrictive to the least restrictive environment," said Ombudsman James W. McCracken. "The Ombudsman's office is guided, as always, by consumer choice. If someone wishes to leave a nursing home and live in the community, it is essential that they have the services and supports they need to make that successful transition. Our role is to make sure that as many people as possible know that these services and supports are available."
In order to assist in this effort, the OOIE is seeking funds from the federal government to hire staff dedicated solely to educating residents, their families, health care professionals and the public at large about the MFP program.
In the meantime, OOIE volunteer advocates have been briefed on the benefits of MFP and have been provided with flyers from the MFP program. During meetings this spring with the DACS Money Follows the Person nurses, OOIE volunteers were asked to be on the look-out for nursing home residents who have expressed a desire to move back into the community.
"We know that returning home is not a realistic possibility for every single person receiving care in a nursing home. So we do try to manage expectations," said McCracken. "But we also know that there are many people who will benefit from this program but who probably don't know, or whose families are not aware, that living at home with the proper plan of support is a highly viable option."
OOIE volunteers have already made about a dozen referrals to DACS MFP staff, said McCracken.