State Receives $43M Grant to Support Older Adults and People with Disabilities

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Funding to help Coloradans transition from institutional living settings 
into their communities


September 28, 2023

Media Contact
Marc Williams
Department of Health Care Policy & Financing

Denver, CO - The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) has been awarded a new four-year, $43M Money Follows the Person Demonstration Grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to support older adults and people with disabilities in Colorado. This funding, in addition to funding received during the 2023 legislative session, will help invest more than $100M into the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) system in Colorado over the next four years. 

“Our Department is deeply committed to creating a system that ensures people with disabilities always have the option to receive their care in the community,” said Bonnie Silva, Director of HCPF’s Office of Community Living. “Over the past decade, HCPF has made extraordinary progress in strengthening and enhancing the home and community-based services that are available to people with disabilities. HCPF is excited to implement this new funding to greatly expand community supports with a focus on expediting transitions out of institutional settings, like nursing facilities, and increasing outreach and support to individuals in the community that are considered at-risk of moving to an institutional setting.”

These significant state and federal investments have helped create a statewide program to connect with Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) members to help them make informed choices on whether to stay in their nursing home, live at home or transition somewhere else in the community. The team of counselors provide guidance and resources on a variety of items to support Health First Colorado members, such as information about housing and other services. Counselors also answer questions about members’ rights and options, and connect them with other organizations in their local community. 

Since launching on August 1, 2023, counselors have met with 126 members at 14 nursing homes. The team will provide meetings at 75% of all nursing homes by the end of June 2024. Those members living in the community who may be faced with moving to a nursing home will receive outreach to ensure they receive the support they need to remain independent in their community. 

Access to affordable and accessible housing can be a major hurdle when people are ready to move out of a nursing home and back into the community. For that reason, the State is making significant investments to ensure individuals with disabilities receive assistance in finding and securing accessible housing. Housing navigation is a critical service to provide hands-on support for individuals who need particular housing to meet their unique physical needs. HCPF will be expanding housing navigation to include support for members at risk of institutionalization. In addition, four hundred new housing vouchers will be made available through the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) for those transitioning out of an institutional setting or those at risk of institutionalization. Additionally, short-term rental assistance, including funds for security deposits, rental arrears, utility start-up costs and pre-tenancy to support individuals in learning about maintaining community housing, are also available to members transitioning to the community. 

Housing is often not the only barrier to a rapid reintegration back into the community for those who have been institutionalized. Delays related to not having a home that is accessible, insufficient funds to purchase furniture and food, or a lack of care providers to meet care needs can also prevent someone from quickly discharging. To address these potential issues, HCPF has increased the available transition set-up costs and enhanced the funds available to support home modifications, while also allowing modifications to occur prior to discharge. Short-term food assistance is also available to ensure the member has food in their pantry and the option to receive home delivered meals.

The process of transitioning can be incredibly stressful and requires a great deal of coordination. For that reason, HCPF has also increased the support available during a transition to connect an individual with someone who has lived experience. HCPF also received approval to implement Community First Choice, which significantly expands access to consumer-directed services for individuals on Medicaid, allowing them to choose their care provider and manage their care.

While more than 81% of Colorado long-term care members currently receive services in the community as opposed to an institutional setting, there is always more work to be done. The $100M in new funding will further strengthen HCPF’s commitment to community living for all individuals with a disability. In particular, these funds will support those who are either at risk of needing or are currently living in an institutional setting to ensure they are afforded every opportunity to live independently in their community. 


About the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing: The Department administers Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program), Child Health Plan Plus, and other programs for Coloradans who qualify. These health care programs now cover about one in four Coloradans. For more information about the Department, please visit