ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 23, 2012) - Governor Martin O'Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown today joined Maryland's Congressional Delegation and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in announcing that Maryland has been awarded more than $106 million in federal grant funding to further efforts to provide long term care in community based settings rather than in institutions. The State Balancing Incentive Payment Program Grant, authorized under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), was designed to help states transform their long-term care systems. The competitive grant award increases the amount of federal matching funds received for each state dollar invested toward non-institutional long-term supports and services. Maryland is only the second state to win a grant award under the program.
"As a result of these additional grant funds, more of our seniors and people with disabilities will have the ability to stay in their homes, near their loved ones, rather than in institutions," said Governor O'Malley. "Thanks to President Obama and our Congressional Delegation, the Affordable Care Act has helped states reform their health care systems to reduce costs, protect choice, and help provide quality, affordable health care for more of our fellow citizens."
"The Affordable Care Act continues to provide Maryland with the tools and resources we need to improve health care throughout our State," said Lt. Governor Brown, Co-Chair of the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council. "These critical funds will boost our efforts to expand access to community-based care so more Marylanders can remain in their homes and communities while enjoying a higher quality of life."
"I believe that honor thy father and mother isn't just a good commandment to live by, it's good policy to govern by. This program maintains our commitment to seniors so that they can continue to get the care and support they need in their own homes and communities," said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee that passed the Affordable Care Act. "Thanks to what we accomplished with health care reform, quality and affordable care is becoming a reality for families across Maryland. I am proud to put funds in the federal checkbook so that Maryland's commitment to community-based care is met dollar-for-dollar with federal support."
"Keeping seniors as independent as possible for as long as possible is an important goal and this grant, which is made possible by the Affordable Care Act, will ensure that seniors receive long-term care services at home or in community-based settings," said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. "I am a big champion of expanding community-based health care services and this federal grant will help us make that possible."
The grant award is an integral component of a broad state approach to expand community-based care. Other aspects of the state approach include new investments to transition individuals from nursing homes to the community, adoption of a better screening tool to identify people who need services, and formation of a new consumer council. All of this supports the state's ongoing efforts to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act mandate to provide services to individuals in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.
"We have a responsibility to transform our long term care system into one that allows as many individuals as possible receive services in home and community-based settings, and this additional federal funding will help us as we continue our efforts to fulfill that important responsibility," said Charles J. Milligan, Deputy Secretary for Health Care Financing at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Under the leadership of Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland has implemented reforms that have expanded health coverage to more than 300,000 Marylanders, nearly half of them children. With the passage of this year's budget, the number of Marylander's with health care coverage could reach 400,000.