UPDATE: Boucher, Sanford School’s WECARE Initiative Receives Grant

 December 8, 2022

Nathan Boucher, associate research professor of public policy, is the principal investigator for a project with the initiative called Building Capacity for Home and Community Based Services through Collective Impact, awarded by Cares at the UNC-CH School of Social Work in partnership with North Carolina Money Follows the Person (MFP), a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services program.

The Sanford School of Public Policy is the principal organization at Duke University for the initiative, working with several key partners: Appalachian State University, National Domestic Workers Alliance – NC Chapter, NC Coalition on Aging and PHI, as part of WECARE: Workforce Engagement with Care workers to Assist, Recognize and Educate.

WECARE is one of four partnerships awarded grants by Cares and MFP.

Each awardee will receive up to one hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) per year for up to five years to develop and implement initiatives using the collective impact framework.

Funding for this project comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This initiative will address areas of concern in building communities that are inclusive of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), physical disabilities, and older adults with support needs in the State of North Carolina, including affordable, accessible housing; transportation; direct support workers; and natural supports.

Money Follows the Person (MFP) is a federally funded, state demonstration project that assists Medicaid-eligible participants to transition from qualified long-term care facilities (e.g., developmental centers, skilled nursing facilities, psychiatric hospitals) into their homes and communities with appropriate support. For over a decade, the MFP demonstration has played a key role in many states’ long-term services and support.

Established by Congress through section 6071 of the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act, MFP provides state Medicaid programs the opportunity to help Medicaid beneficiaries who live in institutions to transition into the community. This gives people with disabilities and older adults more choice in deciding where to live and provides access to Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS). A portion of the funds MFP saves the State through successful transitions is available to MFP for initiatives that develop greater capacity for community living and result in more successful transitions.

UPDATE: December 2022

Under the leadership of the Duke University-based team - Sanford professor Dr. Nathan Boucher (principal investigator), Duke medical student Eleonor Seo (Project Coordinator), and Duke public policy student Zavera Basrai (Research Assistant) -- the recently funded WECARE: Workforce Engagement with Care workers to Assist, Recognize and Educate grant has made tracks towards better defining and enhancing the NC direct care workforce serving older adults and those living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This NC DHHS-funded project is using a "collective impact" framework to engage community members across disciplines and agencies in this 5-year project resulting in a pilot for improved direct care worker training, credentialing, and employer conditions in home- and community-based services. NC Coalition on Aging, National Domestic Workers Alliance-NC Chapter, Appalachian State University, and PHI -- as key partners on the grant -- are collaborating to bring together workgroups focused on training, credentialing, public outreach, high-performing employer models, and pilot development borrowing from other successful examples from other states.

This project is supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $3.2 million, with 100 percent funded by CMS/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CMS/HHS or the U.S. Government.