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Institute of Rural Health lands $800,000 grant to help chronically ill patients find after-care

September 24, 2008
ISU Marketing and Communications

What happens to Idaho’s Medicaid and Medicare patients once they leave the hospital?Are nursing homes and assisted-living centers the only options for people living with a chronic illness or a physical disability?           

Those questions are about to be explored by Idaho State University-Boise senior research associate Russell Spearman who was recently awarded an $800,000 grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS. The project begins Sept. 30 and will run for three years. The Institute of Rural Health's Debra Larsen, Ph.D., will serve as co-principal investigator.

Spearman, M.Ed., and researchers from ISU’s Institute of Rural Health will investigate alternatives to institutional care for chronically ill or disabled Idahoans discharged from hospitals—particularly patients living in the state’s rural and medically underserved areas. The goal is to develop and implement a “person-centered” discharge model that will emphasize the importance of patient and family involvement in the selection of an after-care plan, says Spearman.

 “We want patients and their families to be able to make decisions that are best for them,” says Spearman, who has spent nearly three decades working on behalf of people with disabilities.

The $800,000 award is part of the Real Choice Systems Change grant program, which is designed to help states develop long-term support programs for chronically ill and patients with disabilities released from hospitals. A primary goal is to increase awareness of home and community-based alternatives to institutional care, according to a CMS press release.

Spearman, whose project is the only one funded in Idaho, will collaborate with numerous  agencies, including the Idaho Hospital Association, Idaho Commission on Aging, Medicaid, the state’s Independent Living Council and the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities.

For more information, contact Russell Spearman at 208-373-1773 or visit


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