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Assistant Secretary Carbonell Joins CMS Administrator McClellan at 2006 CMS New Freedom Initiative Conference

On April 10, Dr. Mark McClellan, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was joined by Josefina G. Carbonell, Assistant Secretary for Aging in presenting the keynote address at the Sixth Annual New Freedom Initiative Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. McClellan and Assistant Secretary Carbonell talked about their coordinated approach to implementing the new federal policy direction in long-term care that is embedded in the President’s New Freedom Initiative and designed to empower consumers and honor their desire for community living.

Dr. McClellan discussed the major changes to Medicaid long-term care that were included in the recently enacted Deficit Reduction Act. He gave special highlight to the Money Follows the Person Program, which provides almost $ 2 billion in new funding for home and community-based services. Assistant Secretary Carbonell talked about the new Choices for Independence Program that is the centerpiece of the Administration’s proposal for the Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. The Assistant Secretary noted how Choices builds on the unique mission of the Act, and is designed to strengthen the role of the Act and the Aging Services Network in the future of long- term care.

Each year, since the inception of the Real Choice Systems Change (RCSC) Grants program, CMS has hosted a conference that brings together grantees and officials from across the nation to learn from each other, and from national experts, about innovative ways to transform long-term care systems towards greater emphasis on home- and community-based care.