Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that his administration is awarding $9 million in first-time funding to help Connecticut's nursing home industry diversify services to meet the changing needs of older adults and other citizens with disabilities.
The grants are part of the state's Strategic Plan to Rebalance Long-Term Services and Supports, a ground-breaking initiative to expand long-term service options for people who can live safely in the community instead of an institution.
"Simply put, many people are looking for greater choice about where and how they receive care," Governor Malloy said. "Our initiative promotes freedom of choice in the long-term care system by expanding the options available to our aging adults and other adults with disabilities."
Part of the strategy involves helping skilled nursing facilities adapt to the growing demand for community-based services and supports. In the first of three projected rounds of funding to help nursing homes diversify service delivery models, seven proposals were selected through a competitive procurement process:
Southington Care Center (Central Connecticut Senior Health Services) -- maximum award: $2,051,148. The proposal aims to increase capacity to deliver and promote community services by building a single point of entry for central Connecticut residents, including a 24-hour hotline and a tool kit for community services; expand choice and improve health outcomes by expanding geriatric care management and creating a person-centered education and engagement program; and raising awareness about community long-term services and supports by developing a comprehensive marketing strategy targeted to hospitals.
Mary Wade Home, Inc. (New Haven) -- maximum award: up to $2,001,730, including up to $200,000 in pre-development funds and $1 million in capital funds. The proposal establishes a home-maker companion agency to increase supply of direct-care workers in New Haven, expand person-centered educational opportunities and establish community navigators to assist people with connecting to local community supports.
Litchfield Woods Healthcare Center (Torrington) -- maximum award: $2,269,103. The proposal aims to expand infrastructure to support hospice services in the northwest corner and to open a home-health agency satellite.
Miller Memorial Community, Inc. (Meriden) -- maximum award: $1,338,110. The proposal aims to introduce a new service delivery model that will improve continuity of care and help community members avoid nursing home placement, reduce length of stay in the nursing home and reduce hospitalizations post discharge.
Hebrew Home and Hospital, Inc. (West Hartford) -- maximum award: $1,072,220. The proposal includes diversifying a wing of the nursing home to a transitional living wing which provides additional services and supports the transition of people back to the community.
Hughes Health and Rehabilitation, Inc. (West Hartford) -- maximum award: $197,420. The proposal includes funding for a community assessment to explore the need for establishment of adult family homes and a transitional living wing.
Jewish Home for the Elderly of Fairfield County, Inc. (Fairfield) -- maximum award: $81,260. The proposal includes the development of a protocol for affordable, community-based living in an adult family living home as an option so that seniors can remain in or return to the community from a nursing home.
The initial request for proposals was issued by the Department of Social Services, in conjunction with the Departments of Housing and Public Health. The next request for proposals is anticipated to be issued this summer, with expected funding of up to $25 million available. Federal and state Medicaid funding, as well as state bond funds, support the initiative.
"This new funding will help nursing homes expand the services they provide to better meet the changing long-term care needs of Connecticut's elderly and citizens with disabilities," said Office of Policy and Management Undersecretary Anne Foley. "With this funding, we are encouraging the industry to develop a continuum of services that will help Connecticut residents remain a part of the community whenever possible."
Department of Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby said, "One of the noteworthy factors in this process is our success in building the first state/federal partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support nursing home diversification. This is critical, since HUD underwrites mortgages for 59 of the approximately 230 nursing facilities in Connecticut. Nursing facilities wishing to diversify business models must get support from underwriters to use the building for a purpose other than the traditional nursing home model."
Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne M. Klein said, "Connecticut's aging residents need as many care and living solutions as possible. The Governor's strategic plan and this funding are important steps to address the long-term needs of this population. With the number of long-term care recipients only growing, we need to focus our energy on options that increase the number of people who can receive care in their homes, which will reduce costs for everyone and improve the quality of life for many."
Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen said, "This initiative fosters new care models which will allow people entering the long term care system to remain in their own home and enhance their quality of life. Most of the proposals chosen for this initiative can be implemented without changes to current regulations. DPH looks forward to working with health care providers and other state agencies to support these resident-centered care delivery models that ultimately will lead to better patient safety and reduced health care costs."
Connecticut's Strategic Plan to Rebalance Long-Term Services and Supports, released by Governor Malloy last year, includes the nation's first town-by-town projection of a state's long-term care needs and strategies to meet those needs (www.ct.gov/dss/rebal). These data provide the framework for rebalancing initiatives, including funding for skilled nursing facility diversification.
Even with Medicaid continuing to fund more than $1.6 billion in institutional care alone in Connecticut, the trend of nursing facilities seeing less demand for their services has been increasing in Connecticut and elsewhere. A total of 35 skilled nursing facilities have closed since January 2001 as resident censuses declined across the state.
The strategic rebalancing initiative includes a coordinated approach to reducing institutionalized beds where projections indicate that they will not be needed, and ensuring that nursing facilities diversify their services to participate in prevailing home- and community-based care trends.