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LeadingAge NY Priorities in MRT Affordable Housing Allocation Plan

The Department of Health (DOH) issued an allocation plan for the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Affordable Housing allocation in the Executive Budget. This plan outlines the priorities of the state for both 2014-15 and 2015-16 fiscal years. LeadingAge NY is on the MRT Affordable Housing workgroup, which advised DOH and HCR on the development of the plan. We are extremely pleased to report that LeadingAge NY proposals are in the final plan, as well as other initiatives we supported which will provide opportunity to our members. It is important to note that all funding is prioritized to initiatives that target high cost Medicaid users and will save the state Medicaid dollars.

Senior Housing Pilot Program: This is a pilot that LeadingAge NY developed, which would support capital and supportive services in affordable housing, to support low-income seniors to remain in the community. We anticipate that a request for applications will be available very soon for this grant initiative, which is funded at $2M in fiscal year 2014-15 and by $4M in the subsequent year; with plans to continue funding on an annual basis.

Olmstead Housing Subsidy Program: LeadingAge NY crafted a proposal to provide a housing subsidy to enable managed long term care (MLTC) and fully integrated duals advantage (FIDA) program participants to access a housing subsidy to support diversions and transitions out of nursing homes. We are pleased that this program is funded at $1M in fiscal year 2014-15, and $5M in the subsequent year.    

Access to Home: This program has experienced cuts over recent years, and the allocation will increase the funding in fiscal year 2014-15 by $1M, and by $2M in the subsequent year. The funding will enable high-cost Medicaid members to access funds to help with necessary home modifications to enable individuals to remain in their own homes.

NHTD Waiver Housing Subsidy: DOH will continue to support the housing subsidy available to participants of the nursing home transition and diversion (NHTD) waiver, an initiative we highlighted as a priority.

Special Needs Assisted Living for Low-income Seniors: This would be a new pilot program, the details of which are to be determined, that would support the development of assisted living options for low-income individuals with special needs, including but not limited to dementia. The program is funded at $1M in fiscal year 2014-15, and by $3M in the subsequent year. We supported this proposal.

In addition, MRT funds will support a Capital pool dedicated to providing supportive housing units to high cost Medicaid users statewide, funded at $35M in fiscal year 2014-15, and $43M in the subsequent year. The Service Operating fund will further support the development of new units, and is funded at $5M fiscal year 2014-15, and $20M in the subsequent year. We believe that this funding will be flexible in that it will be available to target high cost Medicaid users and save Medicaid dollars, but is not specifically dedicated to any particular program. We believe that this funding will be an opportunity for our members to develop housing options that meet the MRT objectives.

Lastly, two other pilots may provide opportunity for our members or the people they serve:

  • The Health Homes Supportive Housing Pilot will support rent and service subsidies for high cost Medicaid users referred by health homes due to unstable housing. DOH has just issued an RFA; eligible applicants are not-for-profit housing providers with experience serving special populations and the ability to partner with a health home.  Letters of interest are due March 21, and applications are due May 23, 2014. Click here for more information.
  • The Nursing Home to Independent Living Rapid Transition Pilot will support individuals with mobility impairments and physical disabilities living in nursing homes a pathway to community living.

It is important to note that this allocation plan is based on the assumption that the full amount of funding proposed in the Executive proposal remains throughout the budget process, which will unfold over the next few weeks and conclude at the end of March. We will continue to advocate that this funding remain intact during negotiations, and encourage members to do the same.

On a related note, the Office of Mental Health has issued a Request for Proposals for funding to develop crisis beds and transitional housing for people with serious mental illness, funded through MRT Affordable Housing dollars. Click here to learn more.

Contact: Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828 or Ken Harris at kharris@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8835