Last Call for 11.15.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The heads of several state agencies highlighted recent federal approval for a state plan that will direct $1.1 billion toward home and community based services.

“Since taking office, Governor DeSantis has been committed to providing the highest quality care for Florida’s most vulnerable residents,” said Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller.

“With the approval of our spending authority request, our team can reinforce the Governor’s commitment to ensuring Florida’s Medicaid members have access to high quality home and community-based care. With this funding, Florida’s seniors and vulnerable residents will have even greater opportunity to receive the care they need to live and thrive in their homes and communities.”

The bulk of the money, $669 million, will be used to address staff shortages and other workforce challenges at home and community based care providers. The highlights include $266 million for one-time payments to help providers recruit and retain staff.

“The Agency for Persons with Disabilities thanks Governor DeSantis for his leadership in securing these important funds to meet the ongoing daily needs of customers,” APD Director Barbara Palmer said. “APD is very pleased that COVID-19 Relief Funds will be going to frontline workers who deliver vital services to our APD customers. We appreciate having this money available to help protect our customers and ensure their health and safety.”

Other spending is aimed at allowing older Floridians to remain in their own home rather than move into a long-term care facility. The plan sets aside $128 million to enhance the services of older Floridians enrolled in the Department of Elder Affairs’ Home Care for the Elderly program; $63 million to provide essential tools such as eyeglasses, wheelchair transfer boards, and adaptive cooking equipment; and another $63 million to purchase personal technology devices for Floridians living at home so they can remain connected to their communities and loved ones.

“Governor DeSantis has remained committed to keeping Seniors First,” said Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom. “And DOEA’s collaboration with AHCA helps us accomplish that goal. Florida will now be able to assist more seniors by allowing them to stay in their home with a caregiver by simply making proactive home modifications. This coordination furthers the Governor’s priority to promote the well-being, safety, and independence of Florida’s seniors, their families, and caregivers.”

More information and application materials related to home and community based services funding are available through AHCA.

Evening Reads

Florida’s Special Session kicks off with protests and Democratic opposition” via Issac Morgan of the Florida Phoenix

Major business lobbies donate heavily ahead of COVID-19 vaccine mandate Special Session” via Gray Rohrer of the Orlando Sentinel

Doctors blast Gov. DeSantis for ‘risky’ COVID-19 policies and Special Session” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics

Democrats are set to leave immigrants in the lurch again” via Nicole Narea of Vox

Florida politicians offer bipartisan show of support for Cuban protesters” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

A Cuban dissident with a rose sends powerful message amid island government’s crackdown” via Nora Gamez Torres of the Miami Herald

Amid Cuban protests, Gov. DeSantis calls for $25M revitalization of Freedom Tower” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Gov. DeSantis reveled in UF’s Top 5 status; now his minions threaten its academic freedom”  via Diane Roberts of the Florida Phoenix

This elected leader worked remotely during COVID-19. Now he may get fired.” via Brittan Wallman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Seniors looking for relief from high medication costs” via Cait McVey of Bay News 9

Quote of the Day

“It makes me feel good, when I see the Freedom Tower, to be an American, to be a Floridian.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, calling for a $25M restoration to the historic site.

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