State officials say a new federal initiative will help three times as manyIowans get help in their elder years. The three year, 300-million dollarprogram will help convert nursing home beds into assisted living apartments.By shifting away from expensive nursing home care, that leaves more money toprovide services like elder day care and home health visits by a nurse tomany more Iowans. Governor Tom Vilsack says the program had been targetedfor extinction, but just last week he and others won a reprieve. Departmentof Human Services director Jesse Rasmussen says Iowa received nearly100-million dollars this year from the feds, and were told the funding wouldNOT be continued in other years. New federal rules drafted last week allowthe money to continue to flow to Iowa for the next two years. Seventy Iowanursing homes applied for one-million dollar grants to convert portions oftheir facilities in assisted living apartments. Rasmussen says 20 grantswill be awarded in early 2001, and that assisted living space should open in2002. Department of Elder Affairs director Judy Conlon says Iowa officialsplan to sock away some of the federal money to create a special trust fundthat will finance elder services.
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