Time is running short, and people are starting to get anxious.
Florida faces a Sunday deadline to take advantage of hundreds of millions of dollars in additional Medicaid money that Congress made available for the delivery of home- and community-based services.
Despite recent assurances from the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities that Florida was moving ahead with plans to draw down the additional federal funds, advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities say they have been kept out of the loop.
The American Rescue Plan Act stimulus law provides states with a temporary 10 percentage-point increase to the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, commonly called the FMAP, for certain Medicaid home- and community-based services from April 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022.
State officials have refused to disclose how much money they think Florida could tap into, but Jim DeBeaugrine, a former state House budget staffer and former director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, said Florida could take advantage of as much as $450 million.
The federal government sent a May 13 guidance letter to state Medicaid directors outlining services that could qualify for the increased funding, as well as the parameters for the money.
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which houses the state Medicaid program, had not submitted a plan to the federal government to draw down the additional funds by the close of business Thursday and had not asked for an extension to give it more time to develop a plan.
AHCA had not responded to The News Service of Florida’s requests for comment as of Friday morning.