The federal government is giving state three additional years to improve their Medicaid-funded efforts to help keep the elderly and the disabled in the community.

The requirement, established in 2014 for implementation by 2019, requires states to do more to enable the elderly to remain in their homes rather than go to nursing homes and to help the disabled live and work in the community or at least have greater control of their own lives while residing in group home settings.

Among the approaches states have been developing in response to the federal requirements are offering seniors programs of long-term services and supports as an alternative to nursing homes; requiring group homes to offer greater privacy to residents and greater freedom to manage their own money; offering more housing choices to the disabled; find ways for the disabled to work in settings that are not sheltered workshops; and more.

While most states have been working to develop new approaches in response to this Medicaid challenge, many were struggling and the additional three years is intended to give them more time.

States are still required to obtain approval for their plans by 2019 but will have three years to implement them.

Learn more about the federal Medicaid requirement, why the delay was considered necessary, and the requirements state governments will still need to meet in this Kaiser Health News article.