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TRENTON-  New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly today announced that New Jersey’s participation in the federal Money Follows the Person program – known as “I Choose Home N.J.” (ICHNJ) -- has resulted in assisting more than 1,600 Medicaid eligible individuals in moving from nursing homes and state developmental centers, into their own homes in local communities.

An event to mark the program’s success was held at the Division of Developmental Disabilities office in Hamilton with approximately 100 attendees. Guests included program participants, housing developers that have helped to create low-income affordable housing for older adults and individuals with physical disabilities, and representatives from the Supportive Housing Association and the N.J. Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.  Other attendees included representatives from the five managed care organizations that provide home and community based services to I Choose Home participants, as well as some employers who have hired I Choose Home participants. 
“Through I Choose Home, state and community agencies work in partnership to assist people who want to move out of large, institutional facilities and into homes in our local communities,” said Acting Commissioner Connolly. “This effort is rewarding to I Choose Home program participants, as well as to our state and community agency staff who work with individuals to make their dreams a reality.”

The program is for Medicaid eligible older adults, age 65 or older; individuals with physical disabilities between ages 18 to 64; and individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities age 21 and older.
“Some people who want to move out of nursing homes do not realize that there are other options for long-term care,” said New Jersey Long Term Care Ombudsman James McCracken, who heads the New Jersey Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly (OOIE). "I Choose Home provides the individualized support necessary for the person and gets the process of finding a community home with the supports that they will need underway."

Through this Medicaid program, the federal government offers an enhanced match of the state’s costs at 75 percent, rather than the traditional 50 percent, generating 25 percent state savings referred to as “rebalancing funds” to reinvest into additional community resources. These efforts rebalance the long term care service system from being predominately institutional services by creating more community-based services.  
DHS and OOIE have bolstered state efforts to assist individuals who are elderly or physically disabled in moving from nursing homes into the community by sending staff members into nursing homes to identify individuals who may wish to move out. In addition, DHS launched an outreach campaign – in partnership with the NJ Long Term Care Ombudsman -- titled: “A Nursing Home May Not Be Your Only Option.”

Through ICHNJ, participants may choose where they want to live:  in their own home, with a relative, or in a rented apartment, house or small group home. The participants pay rent and the Medicaid program provides support services – such as personal care and transportation – to help the participant live successfully in the community.

Between July 1, 2008 and March 16, 2016, a total of 1,675 people have transitioned from institutions to community homes through ICHNJ: 710 are people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, 542 are older adults and 423 people have physical disabilities.

Since its inception in 2008, ICHNJ has generated a total of $18.5 million in additional federal reimbursement for the cost of providing services in New Jersey.  New Jersey reinvests these funds in efforts to help more state residents age in place to avoid institutionalization and to create more home and community–based opportunities. 
ICHNJ is a collaborative effort between the DHS’ Divisions of Aging Services, Developmental Disabilities and Disability Services in partnership with the Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly. The initiative includes a 34-person stakeholder group of program participants and services consumers, family members, managed care representatives, housing developers and others who provide program feedback and collaboration.
For more information, call 1-855-466-3005 or visit the website at www.IChooseHome.NJ.Gov.

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