Iowa's Money Follows the Person Program Reaches Milestone (IA UCEDD)

February 4, 2016

In December 2015, Iowa's Money Follows the Person (MFP) program transitioned its 500th individual from a congregate setting to a new life in the community.

Under contract with the Iowa Department of Human Services' (DHS) Iowa Medicaid Enterprise, the University of Iowa Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD-Iowa UCEDD) has implemented Iowa's MFP program since it began in 2008.  Through its MFP initiative, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) incents states to serve individuals with disabilities in the community by significantly increasing the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to cover the cost of services-including needed demonstration services-for  the first 365 days following an individual's transition from a congregate setting.

The opportunity for CDD to implement Iowa's MFP initiative grew from a series of successful collaborations with DHS dating to the early 1990's when DHS began contracting with CDD to administer the Conner Training Consortium created through the settlement of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Iowans residing in two state-run facilities.  Subsequently, CDD partnered with DHS on a number of systems transformation initiatives, including design and implementation of Iowa's Consumer Choices Option and coordination of Iowa's response to the 1999 Olmstead Supreme Court decision.  When the decision was made to apply for an MFP grant, DHS called upon CDD to staff operational planning meetings, reach out to potential partners, and ultimately take the lead on drafting the proposal.  Following Iowa's receipt of the grant in 2007, CDD led the development of the operational protocol which would guide program implementation.

The program "went live" in September 2008.  CDD hired a program manager, six transition specialists responsible for coordinating community placements and providing follow-up services, and an administrative assistant.  The program has since added three transition specialists, an employment specialist, and a behavior specialist.  Initially, the program served only those individuals with intellectual disabilities and brain injuries residing in Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities.  In January 2014, DHS received approval to begin transitioning individuals from the covered populations residing in nursing facilities.  The program has transitioned approximately 50 individuals from nursing facilities since the expansion.

During the first year that an MFP participant transitions into the community, he or she works with his or her support team to identify "firsts" that he or she experiences after the move.  The list, which runs the gambit of basic privileges such as opening a bank account and having one's own mailbox to adventuresome activities such as trying a zip line, illustrates the program's impact on individuals served.

The Conner Training Consortium's quarterly newsletter, Possibilities in Education and Training, routinely publishes MFP participant success stories.  Visit the archive at  To learn more about Iowa's MFP program and view a video in which four successful MFP participants share their stories, visit


*This project was supported and conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under cooperative agreement UA3 MC11054 - Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. This work was a collaborative effort between the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network and the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health.