|Director of Outreach and Advocacy Amy Brown|
to move people out of institutions back into the community, and to reinvest Medicaid dollars saved back
into home- and community-based services so that more people can age in place. Residents who are eligible for Medicaid, and have been living in an institutional setting for more than 90 days, may be able to participate in the program and transition out into an independent setting with Medicaid supports and services in their home. The State of New Jersey receives an enhanced federal Medicaid match for the first year that the individual resides in the community. Those cost savings are then invested to create more possibilities for others to remain in their homes and receive the services they need, rather than going into a nursing home.
OOIE now has a team of six staff members working full time on this project, in addition to help from our Chief of Staff and our graphic design specialist. Our Director of Outreach and Advocacy, Amy Brown, heads this initiative. Our Outreach and Advocacy Coordinators - Lea Hernandez, Jennifer Sills, Nikiah Nixon, and Dina Donnelley - who cover four NJ regions - are in the field every day educating nursing facility staff, residents, and their families about , the basic eligibility requirements, and potential services offered though I Choose Home - NJ. Staff is also attending numerous professional and community events - conferences, seminars, trainings, senior expos, health fairs, and the like - to spread the I Choose Home - NJ message that "A Nursing Home May Not be the Only Option." In recent weeks we have distributed information at a half-dozen professional conferences, guest lectured a Masters-level social work class, given presentations at senior centers and “Resident Rights Bingo” events in nursing homes, trained other advocacy professionals, and educated our cadre of about 200 Volunteer Advocates about their involvement in MFP.
We are working closely with the Department of Human Services to identify individuals in nursing homes who are interested in transitioning back to the community and then following up on those referrals. OOIE is also playing a larger role to ensure that Section Q (a section of a resident's assessment indicating that s/he wants to leave the nursing home and wants to explore options) are filled out properly and transmitted to the appropriate agency.
In addition, we are working hard to finish our marketing campaign that will launch later this year. We are building a website, ordering thousands of marketing materials, creating additional educational materials, and starting work on videos that will highlight individuals who have transitioned home successfully.
It is an exciting time for I Choose Home - NJ in the Ombudsman's Office. Help us spread the word that A NURSING HOME MAY NOT BE THE ONLY OPTION. If you or someone you know is Medicaid-eligible, has resided in a nursing home for more than 90 days and wants to move out, please call us: 1-800-HOME-005.