BALTIMORE, MD (July 18 2012) -The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and health care partners today celebrated the State's commitment to use $14.3 million generated by the 2011 alcohol tax increase to expand long-term services and supports (LTSS) to frail seniors and adults with disabilities living in the community.
"Keeping seniors and those with disabilities in their communities and closer to their families leads to a higher quality of life," said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, who leads the O'Malley-Brown Administration's health care portfolio. "These funds will help us expand access to home and community-based care so more Marylanders who need critical health services can remain in their homes and out of institutions." During an event at AARP Maryland in Baltimore, Health Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., joined AARP State Director Hank Greenberg and Maryland's Health Care For All! Coalition President Vincent DeMarco in celebrating the $14.3 million that will be used to fund home- and community-based long-term care for Marylanders in fiscal 2013. With those funds, 480 more people with physical disabilities and older adults will be able to stay in their home and receive the services they need rather than enter an institution, and others will receive additional support.
"Marylanders with disabilities and older adults deserve to get the services they need in their own homes," Secretary Sharfstein said. "Rebalancing the LTSS budgets has been a critical initiative for our department."
For fiscal 2013, which started July 1, Governor O'Malley and the General Assembly allocated $64 million of the alcohol sales tax increase money to needs outlined by the Lorraine Sheehan Alcohol Tax Coalition, including $14.3 million for Rebalancing to expand and strengthen community-based services and reduce the need to rely on institutions for long-term care.
"Improving home and community-based long-term care is a terrific use of the revenue from the life-saving 2011 alcohol sales tax increase," said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Health Care For All! Coalition. "We commend the O'Malley Brown Administration for using almost all of the revenue raised by that tax for the health care and community service needs outlined by the Lorraine Sheehan Alcohol Tax Coalition."
In March 2012, the federal government awarded $106 million to Maryland, the largest federal Balancing Incentive Program grant to date under the Affordable Care Act to promote LTSS community rebalancing. Maryland is working with AARP Maryland and other stakeholders to reach the State's goal of spending at least half of all LTSS dollars in community-based care by the end of 2015.
"AARP members overwhelmingly prefer to have the option to age in place - at home or in the community, said Hank Greeenberg, AARP state director. "Maryland has made a major shift toward that end this year, thanks to the Governor and Secretary Sharfstein. AARP is very proud to be part of the diverse coalition that made this happen. We look forward to building on this success."
Rebalancing ($14.3 million)
Expand and strengthen community-based services and reduce the need to rely on institutions for long-term care:
- $4.5 million for a 180-slot expansion of the Living at Home Waiver;
- $4.5 million for a 300-slot expansion of the Older Adults Waiver;
- $2.3 million for a rate increase for community-based Medicaid providers;
- $2.0 million to increase utilization of existing older adults waiver spots; and
- $950,000 for enhanced case management services for participants in the Older Adults waiver.
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