FOR CHOICE -
********* Last scheduled
legislative day of session March 9,
2012 !! ****************
January 10, 2012 to March 9, 2012
Florida Legislature Session Dates.
SB 1516 APD bill makes changes to program.
on Florida Senator / Representative to
The Florida Legislature House
and Senate will meet on
January 10, 2012 to begin their session.
You can view the
House LIVE on internet when in session.
Senate broadcast schedule when in session.
Scott - APD
dollar budget cuts $170 million 20% cut (MS Word) downloads /
budget recommendations (pdf)
15% cut to APD was restored eff 4-16-11 but Senate still has not
funded monies needed.
Gov Scott orders Inspector General to review APD books. APD head C.
House bill / summary
proposing managed care for APD.
Read Proposed Senate
detailed bill on APD changes / HMO
The joint conference committee members of House and Senate will
determine if APD
goes to managed care HMO or not. Senate bill > no HMO, House bill >
yes to HMO.
Senate Chairperson of the subcommittee on Health and Human Services Appropriations. Senator Negron indicated
his managed care
proposal would not include the DD population.
Read article. House still has the HMO version.
House and Senate bill versions can change with amendments, so we will be watching, reporting and
voice to the 31,000+ DD people. See above summary.
We want to thank Sen Negron and committee members that
have / will vote to keep APD out of the HMO model. Senator Negron, the
chairman of the Senate Health & Human
Services Committee wants the I-Budget left in place so that people
can coordinate their own health care services within
a set annual amount. We would ALSO like to thank families,
providers and support coordinators your recent support in
contacting the senate and next the House concerning the HMO takeover of
Medwaiver. Thanks to your efforts, the
proposed Senate bill exempts people with developmental disabilities from
BELOW IS OLDER NEWS
HOUSE MEDICAID REFORM funding Meeting
Senate or House meetings on internet
Critical decisions on Medicaid Reform APD funding. Write, call or
Senators on Subcommittee & Emails /
phone numbers that voted on abovc bill
Sen. Negron, Chair; Rep.
1-888-759-0791 (772) 219-1665 (850) 487-5088
Consists of Martin, and parts of Indian River,
Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie counties
Sen. Rich, Vice Chair; Dem.
(954) 747-7933 (850) 487-5103
Consists of parts of Broward, and Miami-Dade
Sen. Gaetz, Rep.
1-866-450-4366 (850) 897-5747 (850) 487-5009 Consists
of parts of Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties
Sen. Garcia, Rep.
(305) 364-3100 (850) 487-5106
Consists of part of Miami-Dade county
Sen. Oelrich, Rep.
(352) 375-3555 (850) 487-5020
Consists of Alachua, Bradford, Gilchrist, Union, and
parts of Columbia, Levy, Marion, and Putnam counties
Sen. Richter, Rep.
(239) 417-6205 (850) 487-5124
Consists of parts of Collier, and Lee counties
Sen. Sobel Dem.,
(954) 924-3693 (850) 487-509
Consists of part of Broward county
November 18, 2010
Senate held a work session on 11-17-10 in Tallahassee about Medicaid
reform which plans on using HMOs to administer our developmentally
disabled program as well as other Medicaid funded programs.
Florida United For Choice leadership team members Laura Mohesky and
Richard Stimson along with nine DD consumers attended and some
testified at the hearing. The senators became very aware that
many developmentally disabled people enrolled in the APD Medicaid
Waiver program would not fair well under the proposed HMO model.
Services they enjoy now would likely be reduced or terminated and
they would no longer have an advocate (support coordinator)
promoting their interests.
Many other concerned groups and individuals also testified at this
hearing. The senators indicated they still have a blank slate
within the proposed managed care HMO model and requested ideas as to
specifics. The question they asked was how can we maintain or
increase quality with less funding?
We asked lawmakers
to consider how they could provide Medicaid recipients with the same
budget if they go through a managed care operator? Any
cost savings to feed the private profit driven HMO providers would
likely have to be extracted from vulnerable developmentally
newspapers around Florida wrote stories
the work session and impact that we and other concerned parties had.
Good job for everyone that attended or wrote a letter!
Special Session on November 16, 2010 asked
lawmakers for an advance resolution vote on placing Medicaid under a
managed care HMO for recipients which includes persons with
The Senate and House leadership wanted to solidify an early commitment from senators /
representatives even before the first committee meeting & public
input on this issue began.
Take action NOW> Details below.
People First of Brevard Delegation
Goes to Tallahassee.
As most of you are aware there is a Special
Legislative Session November 16, 2010. One of the
things the legislature will be doing in this
session is to over-ride a number of past
Governor Crist vetos--none of them affect us
or the population we serve directly. The
OTHER objective is to agree to a statement
of intent on Medicaid reform. Just under the
surface here's what's going on:
- Incoming House Leader Dean Cannon
and incoming Senate President Mike
Haridopolos have firm intentions of
reforming Medicaid by enlisting the
involvement of Managed Care
Organizations and HMO's.
- At this time, thanks mainly to Dean
Cannon, the developmental disabilities
community (the Medicaid Waiver) is
included in this planned 'reform.'
- The new leaders of the House and
Senate want essentially statements of
loyalty from the incoming legislators
that they support Medicaid Reform and
the involvement of Managed Care in that
process. They want to put everyone on
record NOW before the committees are
organized and committee leadership is
delegated (a prestige issue for ALL
legislators). Anyone opposing this
reform can expect the cold shoulder for
the rest of the upcoming session.
Florida United for Choice--our advocacy
group--is sending representatives to
Tallahassee to see if we can get in on the
discussion. We are not on the invited list
of 'expert witnesses' (managed care
organizations ARE), so it is really up in
the air as to whether we will even get to
talk to any one.
Here's what we need to do NOW:
- Contact your families and anyone
that will ACT. Use the attached talking
points and contact your House Rep and
Senator's office. A few people cannot
make this happen--it must be everyone.
Numbers are CRITICAL. There will be no 1
or 2 'hero's' that will save this
day--there must be lot's of us writing
- We need to create pressure on the
legislature NOW so that they feel some
heat from the DD community on this. (As
I said, they are being pressured from
the HMO/Legislative leadership
combination to do this.) So we need to
push in the other direction.
- Certainly you'll be speaking to a
legislative aide -- no worries; they
message the legislatures on their
BlackBerries about the phone calls and
visits they are getting.
There is a saying I have adopted in the
recent days. In the end the only people that
can really save disabled people in Florida
are disabled people. They and their families
must rise up and we have to get that
started. Do it. Do it NOW.
October 25, 2010
It would be difficult for me to express how well
our meeting with Senator Harridopolis went this morning! He was
personable, allowed us nearly 25 minutes (!), wanted to have a
conversation with us (!!), and...WAS NOT IN FAVOR OF PUTTING HMO'S
IN CHARGE OF THE DD SERVICE SYSTEM. He was very clear about this in
this meeting and expressed genuine concern for our population and
what we do.
The senator was engaged in the
conversation and made it clear that he does not think that HMO's
would be the right system for the developmentally disabled.
It was good to have support on this
and be clear--he prefers DD not be included in the general Medicaid
Reform. Senator Harridolopis' biggest concern was how to make the
existing APD/DD/Waiver system more efficient and asked for
suggestions on same. I took a business card and will follow-up with
him, likely meeting with him at least once more before the end of
next month. Would love it if you all sent suggestions to me on this.
***So I need each of you to help--we
need to come up with concrete efficiency improvements to the Waiver
as he wants to see us provide more effective delivery. Now is also
the time to continue the momentum on this AND IT IS NOT TIME TO LET
UP ON THE LEGISLATORS. If you rest on this one bit of good news as
if things are OK you will be doing the disabled of the state (and
yourselves) a real disservice
as the battle is NOT won
yet. You will be sorry, frankly. We need to get everyone we know to
keep pushing on this: selling of the disabled of the state to HMO's
will be tremendously harmful to them. *I debated on whether or not
to pass this news along out of fear of fostering complacency. But I
wanted you to know that this is not a 'Done Deal' by any means
either way. Don't give up on what you believe in this.
Who We Are (what we envision
ourselves as being):
United for Choice' as a GRASS ROOTS movement - this
allows us to avoid some of the pitfalls of other advocacy groups and
organizations that have come before us. We are for carving out the
developmentally disabled population of the state (excluding them)
from the coming Medicaid Reform that will have HMO's take over state
and independent provider supports and services.
- We aren't going to ask for money from you - no dues other
than time contributions such as emailing, calling, and preferably
meeting with your local legislators.
- We are totally in favor of networking with other parties
and groups but are not going to be co-opted by their agenda. Again
-- we are focused on preventing the surrendering of the
entire service system over to contracted HMO's which would eliminate
choice, eliminate adequate oversight, and it would create a system
nearly impossible for a developmentally disabled citizen and/or
their family to navigate.
Organized around a core
facilitator group - it was a way of getting started,
focused and organized FAST (in the last legislative session's 2 week
battle for survival) but everyone who is interested in
being a part can and is encouraged to be a member.
- We are made up of providers (disabled persons, Waiver
Support Coordinator (WSC)'s, Supported Living coaches, parents,
family members of disabled folks, every flavor of provider, and
everyone who is alarmed at the prospect of turning the services and
care of disabled Floridians over to profit-hungry HMO's.
You, your friends and relatives, your caseloads, and your email
- all that adds up to VOTING POWER (or what is called in this
political business we are now involved in 'Push Back.') We will need
to do this together!
Where We've Been (what happened):
Lightening War last Legislative
Session - just in case you
Bill to eliminate independent providers in favor of
HMO's was introduced by Dean Cannon (next House Leader) with only
one committee hearing 2 1/2 weeks before the end of the session.
Senator Harridopolis (next Senate President) called
HMO's "our partners" ON THE SENATE FLOOR.
The defeat of HMO take over of Medicaid and the DD
system in Florida was a BITTER pill for the HMO companies to
The HMO's did NOT go away - they kept their offices
open in Tallahassee and their lobbyists are targeting key
legislators NOW. They have been told by Senator Harridopilis that
this is a 'Done Deal' (how's THAT for democracy in action?!)
invested HEAVILY into key legislator's campaigns including Senator
Harridopolis' and Representative Dean Cannon's campaigns.
Where We Are Now (Status):
We have met with Senator Thad Altman. He was very
helpful and supportive.
- Senator Altman is committed to helping us (*but he could
definitely use support and help like letters of support/thanks and
pressure on other senators from all of us to build momentum for
leaving the DD system out of this mess).
Lobbiest, and Tallahassee contacts have given us a good idea of
where we are
- there is some sympathy for 'Carve Out' of the DD system in
the Senate with regards to Medicaid Reform
- the House under Dean Cannon (who is in a tough re-election
campaign this year) is more of a problem but both need pressure from
ALL OF US to understand that Carve Out is the only way for DD
- We are getting help through at least one Senator's office
to work on the House through his contacts and we are setting up
meetings with others.
We are researching
'issues' experienced with HMO's - it's out there;
WellCare alone provides a wealth of reading concerning corruption
and lack of oversight in the HMO model (just Google 'Wellcare
- this is where you all come in
- Again, your best contribution and resource are your
contact and email distribution lists - the people you are in touch
with (friends, caregivers, supportive parties, caseload, etc.).
- We need to make the Legislators
uncomfortable with anything other than Carve Out of the
developmentally disabled service system and have us LEFT OUT
of the Medicaid Reform.
- here's what we need to do:
- There is likely no hope of avoiding HMO Reform in some form
in the State of Florida BUT there IS REAL hope of having DD carved
out of it.
- We are meeting with Senator Harridopolis - there is really
NO chance that we will convince him we are right that DD should be
Carved Out. Our best bet (and plan) is to give him an alternate
strategy when things start going south for him on the Senate Floor.
- We CAN make things go south on the Senate Floor - by
engaging our friends, families, caseloads and contact lists in
emailing, letter writing, and MEETING with legislators in our area.
- It's not Rocket Science - you look up what district you are
in on the Internet and put that information out to your contacts.
United For Choice
will continue to develop letters and templates and send them out for
you to use in the coming days and weeks.
~ Our position is that although the current system isn't
perfect it is clearly the closest to the best thing we are going to
get in this world.
- Some Providers and are an issue - our contacts are telling
us that many providers feel that anything is better than the system
we have. This is destructive and short-sighted. Within DAYS of an
HMO take over of the state these same providers will be longing for
“the good old days” after trying just ONCE to get help from an HMO's