FASC LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Week of March 24, 2008

  This week was dominated with the House and Senate budget committees finalizing their separate initial budget recommendations and proposals including budget reductions for 2008 – 2009.  Historic reductions were proposed for all agencies comprising the health and human services budget including the Agency for Health Care Administration, The Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Elder Affairs, Department of Children and Families, Department of Health and Veterans Administration. 

Within the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Medicaid program was substantially reduced including critical services for families and their children.  Among the many Medicaid programs reduced or eliminated, the House proposal released today will prohibit adult dental, optometric services, podiatric services, visual services, and hospice services  from being provided to the general Medicaid population for a two year period.  Substantial reductions were also taken in hospital and nursing home services among many others. 

Both budget proposals provide for varying reductions for the Agency For Persons with Disabilities : 

SENATE BILL PROVISIONS 

1. 5% provider Rate Reduction for all providers – total savings of $43,544,549 

2.  A $150,000 cap for Tier One clients – total savings $5,634,451 

3.    An increase of $3,135,802 in additional funding to complete all      needs assessments of consumers in 2008-2009 

4.      A proposed reduction of the Gulf Coast Center by 60 beds during 2008-09 leaving 60 additional consumers to move the following year.

5.      Reduce contracts by $1,691,039 (Discussion of re-bidding PSA contracts)   

HOUSE BILL PROVISIONS 

1.     3% Rate Reduction for all providers – total savings $23,397,023

2.     Additional funding to restore waiver services on a one time basis and address the APD deficit – total increase $54,515,896

3.     Move due process hearings back to DCF

4.     Freeze cost plans at actual expenditures for the previous fiscal year 

The House and Senate will continue to refine their separate budgets throughout the coming two weeks.  A conference committee will eventually be appointed to work out any differences between the two bills prior to the completion of the Appropriations process and sending a final bill to Governor Crist. 

Additional legislation will be filed this week by the Senate which will modify the consumer cost “Tiers” which were established during the 2007-2008 Legislative Session.  We do not know at this time what will be included within these changes, but will provide that information and continue to monitor the legislation when it is made available. 

In addition to budget proposals, House Bill 333, by Rep Nehr was heard and passed by the Healthcare Council.  This bill will require the APD to prepare plans for review and comment if there is an announced intent to close or reduce census by 20 percent or more at either Tacachale or Sunland Developmental Disabilities Institution.  The bill now moves to the Policy and Budget Council for further consideration. 

We continue to meet with members of the House and Senate, and meet with the other “stakeholders” to coordinate efforts.  We maintain our mission to hold APD consumers harmless from additional reductions, and specifically advocate for support coordination within all discussions. An update of all legislation currently being tracked will be forwarded for this week when it is completed. 

I want to thank Janice Phillips for her personal assistance, and the FASC membership and Board of Directors for continued support from throughout the state.  We will continue to keep you informed as developments occur.