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SaintPetersblog: Budget talks direct AHCA to investigate managed care for developmentally disabled

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Budget fine print released Tuesday by the Health and Human Services Conference Committee directs the Agency for Health Care Administration to develop a plan for moving people with developmental disabilities into managed care programs.

While the budget language is merely a directive to create a plan for review, many providers think it’s a smart, methodical way to look at how the state provides care for those with developmental disabilities.

To some, this move reflects growing concerns surrounding the implementation of Florida’s “iBudget” system, the program created by the 2010 Legislature to provide for greater predictability and flexibility in spending for individuals receiving services through the Agency for Persons with Disabilities Medicaid waiver.

Joe Aniello, president and chief executive officer of United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida, said as reported by the News Service of Florida, that iBudgets have led to service cuts for many enrollees, and that managed care would be better suited to provide integrated medical and long-term care services.

Much like Florida’s mainstream Medicaid program, plans proposed under this budget language would be designed as provider service networks.

Sen. Denise Grimsley, Chair of Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations, said concerns have been raised to legislative staff regarding the current structure of service provision for persons with disabilities, and suggested that it would be valuable to lawmakers to review alternative plans.  Tuesday’s budget language would require a plan to be submitted to legislative leaders by Dec. 1, and would require legislative approval before any actual program changes are made.

APD has defended the iBudget program, stating that it gives individuals choices on how to spend their taxpayer funding for community services and also provides immediate access to change services as needs change.

It appears these debates will be increasingly voiced as the legislature and agencies deliberate if and how to adjust this critically important program.

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