The Berkshire Eagle reports the memory of the pandemic's toll in nursing homes still raw, the COVID-19 relief law is offering states a generous funding boost for home- and community-based care as an alternative to institutionalizing disabled people.

Advocates hope the estimated $12.7 billion will accelerate what has been a steady shift to supporting elderly and disabled people and their overwhelmed families in everyday settings. But the money for state Medicaid programs, long in coming, will only be available over four calendar quarters this year and next. That's raising concerns it will have just fleeting impact, and prompting calls for permanent legislation.

“What we really want is that when our loved ones need support, we are going to be able reach out and get that support without another battle,” said Maura Sullivan of Lexington, Massachusetts, who has two sons with autism. “We don’t want to have our kids cut out just because the potholes need to be fixed in the states.”