More than 22,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are on a waiting list for Medicaid services, budget documents show. That’s despite lawmakers targeting $95 million in additional funding this past spring to reduce the backlog.
Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director of Budget Planning and Administration Rose Salinas told members of a House health care spending panel Monday the agency has sent 621 “offers” to people on the waitlist for the Medicaid waiver program called IBudget. An additional 252 offers to people on the waitlist will be sent Oct. 8.
Salinas could not say how many of the 621 people the state notified were enrolled in the iBudget waiver program.
In addition to those offers, Salinas also said the agency, on average, enrolls about 100 people with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are considered “at-risk” in the iBudget program.
iBudget is a Medicaid waiver program that allows people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to receive home and community-based services they require to keep them out of institutions and in the community.
Medicaid doesn’t traditionally cover home and community-based services people with intellectual and developmental disabilities might require, such as assistance with daily living activities like bathing, dressing and eating. Medicaid does cover more expensive institutional care, though.
Several of the committee members pressed Salinas about reimbursement rates the state pays iBudget support coordinators.
APD was one of three agencies to appear before the committee to discuss legislative budget requests. Governors consider legislative budget requests, or LBRs, as they develop the proposed budget to submit to the Florida Legislature for consideration.
The House Health Care Appropriations Committee panel also heard from Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom, who outlined an austere LBR that includes a $1.4 million request to upgrade information technology and another nearly $505,000 to enhance its Office of Professional Guardians.
The Department of Elder Affairs also proposes in its LBR to transfer the $33.8 million Program for All Care for the Elderly to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.
Prudom noted the “modest” LBR request was made possible by a $235 million-plus bump in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan.
Prudom said his department is getting $106.7 million to invest in nutrition programs and develop strategies to improve access to mental health services. The department will get another $128 million from the federal government after Congress agreed to increase federal Medicaid funding for home- and community-based services, also from the American Rescue Plan.
Prudom noted the agency is asking the Legislature for authority to hire a Deputy Secretary. Asked by Committee Chair Rep. Bryan Avila whether the agency could spread the work a deputy secretary would take across existing positions, Prudom said no.
“We’re a pretty lean agency,” Prudom said.
The panel also heard from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Among other things, that department is requesting $1.4 million in general revenue to beef up pay for nurses at veteran facilities and another $13.8 million to increase its contracting budget.
The panel will hear from other health-care-related agencies next month, including the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Health, and the Department of Children and Families.