The program is Ohio's version of the federal Money Follows the Person (MFP) program and allows individuals residing in long-term care facilities to return to home and community-based settings. Under the program, individuals with a desire to leave institutional settings are assessed by Ohio Medicaid and offered housing and support services to transition back into the community. It was launched in 2008 with a goal of getting 2,000 successful transitions.
"The state of Ohio remains committed to providing more choice to residents living in nursing facilities and institutional settings,"
Medicaid Director John McCarthy said in a statement. "HOME Choice has enhanced independence and provided a second chance to thousands of Ohioans -- all at costs lower than those incurred in institutional settings."
The agency said HOME Choice has experienced expediential growth over the past three years as the number of people taking advantage of the new independence it offers climbed from 968 prior to 2011 to more than 5,000 today. Additionally, the HOME Choice program has experienced successful transitions in all of Ohio's 88 counties.
In 2013, Ohio's HOME Choice program garnered national recognition as a leader in transitioning individuals with the desire and ability to re-enter the community. Ohio ranked first among MFP states in transitioning individuals with mental illness from long-term facilities into alternative settings and second overall in the total number of residents moved from institutions into home and community-based settings.
"While Ohio Medicaid joins various stakeholder and advocate groups in celebrating this milestone, we are taking this as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to create more opportunity for people across Ohio," said McCarthy. "We look forward to continuing to collaborate with public and private partners to identify new, effective ways to allow our friends and neighbors to move out of facilities and back into the community."