Is your state still stowing in nursing homes people who could live at home with adequate help ? Is the state spending millions of Medicaid dollars on institutional long-term care when they could get federal funds to expand the less expensive community services, such as personal care and homemaker services, people want and need?

You can find out in a new entry to Community Catalyst’s Medicaid Report Card that shows which states are leading and which are lagging on providing home and community-based services to seniors and people with disabilities. The entry also explains the federal Balancing Incentive Program and how it can help states save money in Medicaid while improving care for the millions of people who depend on it.

Our newly updated Medicaid Report Card also includes other policies affecting primary care, prescription drugs and hospital stays that are smart ways to make Medicaid more efficient without cutting needed services. For each policy, we provide a concise summary of the evidence for cost savings and quality improvement, and name which states have and have not adopted it.

But back to the innovative program from the Affordable Care Act (Section 10202) to enhance community-based long-term services and supports. The Balancing Incentive Program increases federal matching funds by millions of dollars to pay for new or expanded home- or community-based services, including upfront costs. Texas, which is participating, will get as much as $277 million, while Maryland will get up to $106 million. States must meet certain obligations in return. Some states that have already done the right thing are reporting big savings plus increased consumer satisfaction and well-being. You can read more in our Medicaid Report Card, and find links to all the details.

If this sounds like a good deal for your state, don’t delay! The program sunsets in 2015 or when the $3 billion allotted runs out.