Medicaid Changes Affecting Persons with Disabilities
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
It's been almost two months since Medicaid enacted changes in funding. October 15th, the number of tiers for funding people with various levels of disabilities doubled to four. For many North Central Floridians it means instead of getting virtually unlimited funding for services based on need, they are now at a capped tier of funding. Alachua County ARC Executive Director Dick Bradley estimates 20% of people who ARC serves have been adversely affected.
"Given these cuts and reductions, these things that the independent agency has determined to be medically necessary are no longer being provided," says Bradley.
The Alachua County ARC runs a daily intensive therapy program for about a dozen people with developmental disabilities. But for almost two months, the program has been missing two regulars, Eric and Walter. The high supervision they require at all times saps up their Medicaid funding, keeping them at their group home and not at the program.
"Walter and eric, of all the people we've talked about, those are the two people that i'm concerned about the most," says Bradley.
Bradley adds Walter and Eric still come to the front door every day hoping for what had been their daily routine.
Bradley says he understands the budget predicament of state lawmakers. But he says the rate structure used by the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities has reduced rates providers receive for their service by almost 35% since 2003 between rate cuts and inflation. He says any more cuts to developmental disability programs could be disastrous.
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