Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities

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Florida First to Help Military Families with Waivers – State will Provide Services to those Transferred to Florida

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Florida is the first state in the country to offer Medicaid waiver services to active military families deployed from another state where they were already receiving services. The Florida Legislature passed and Governor Rick Scott signed the 2014-2015 It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget which created this program.

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) provides Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver services to individuals with developmental disabilities so that they may participate in their local communities. The Medicaid waiver services are funded with state and federal tax dollars. All states provide Medicaid waiver services, however, because they are very popular programs there is a waiting list in most states including Florida.

Military families are frequently transferred and as a result their family member with a developmental disability loses Medicaid waiver services they were receiving at their previous post. This new program will prevent that from happening and will be a huge help to individuals with disabilities and their families transferring to Florida. It is receiving unanimous praise from disability stakeholders.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “I am very excited that Florida is the first state in the country to offer this benefit to military families.  Men and women in the military sacrifice many things to serve our country. Offering community services to their loved one with a developmental disability is the right thing for our state to do. This idea came from people who attended our APD Military Town Hall meeting cohosted by Governor Scott at Eglin Air Force Base earlier this year.  I am very happy Governor Scott and the Legislature took the nationwide lead to enact this measure to benefit military families.”

Eglin Air Force Base Airman & Family Readiness Center Director Mark Wilke said, “We appreciate Florida’s plan, which will reduce delays for military families with members who have disabilities so they may receive the APD Medicaid waiver when relocating to Florida. It will be a tremendous help.”

Family Care Council Florida Vice-Chairperson Pauline Lipps said, “I sincerely thank Governor Scott and the Florida legislators for being the first in the country to allow Military families, who are transferred to Florida, the ability to enroll in Florida’s Medicaid waiver program. The continuity of services for individuals with developmental disabilities in military families will help them realize a smooth transition to Florida while continuing to serve our country and preserve our freedom.”

“The Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (Florida ARF) says thank you to Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for passing legislation that will make Florida the first state in the country to allow military families who are already receiving waiver services in another state and are transferred to Florida to enroll in Florida’s Medicaid waiver. What a fitting way to serve those who give so much to serve our great country!  We hope to see similar legislation in all states within the near future,” said Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities Executive Director Suzanne Sewell.

The Association of Support Coordination Agencies of Florida chairperson Janice Phillips said, “Our association fully supports Governor Scott and Legislature’s initiative to provide support to those military families who serve our country. Military families are stressed with frequent transfers. These families with members with developmental disabilities are particularly challenged. This groundbreaking legislation will help alleviate the hardship of added bureaucracy when these military families move to Florida, often leaving behind their sources of paid and natural support in other states. Florida’s willingness to facilitate assistance for service members’ loved ones with developmental disabilities is not only very commendable and deeply appreciated, but will help our economy by integrating them more rapidly into the community.”

Area 2 Family Care Council Chairperson Lou Ogburn said, “It is a good thing to allow Florida’s military families to continue on the Medicaid waiver program if they were on it in another state when transferred. The military personnel usually have no say in where they are stationed and families need the consistency that the waiver provides their loved one.”

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities.  The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll-free 1‑866‑APD‑CARES (1‑866‑273‑2273).


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APD Seeks Admission Moratorium on Provider – Agency Insists upon Improvements at Facility

TALLAHASSEE, FL—The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) has filed an administrative complaint seeking a moratorium that prohibits any new residents from being served at Carlton Palms Educational Center in Lake County. Carlton Palms is a large facility which serves more than 200 individuals with developmental disabilities with intense behavioral needs. The facility is currently operating under an APD imposed corrective plan that requires the facility to improve medical procedures and record keeping. An inspection this week found that Carlton Palms has not complied with the corrective plan to improve its medical record keeping.

Since the initial corrective plan, Carlton Palms has been under heavy scrutiny by APD. The agency has required cameras and enhancements to recordings to capture what is occurring at this large facility. APD has dedicated staff that make unannounced visits, including during the middle of the night and on weekends. Videos are reviewed from each residence, and visits are made to the many buildings on the campus.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “We have taken this action because the health and safety of the residents is our top priority. We are very serious about the need for improved oversight and care at Carlton Palms. Not only will this moratorium motivate this facility to enhance its care for the individuals currently residing there, but if we do not see improvements we will begin the process of identifying other potential providers.”

This administrative complaint filed today seeks to impose the maximum fine by law of $10,000, and seeks immediate improvement in medical procedures and record keeping. Carlton Palms would not be able to accept any residents funded by the Medicaid waiver until the moratorium is lifted.

Carlton Palms is the only Comprehensive Transition Education Program (CTEP) in the state providing all the required services an individual with intense behaviors may need.

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities.  The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll-free 1‑866‑APD‑CARES (1‑866‑273‑2273).


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Notice of Development of Rulemaking

AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION

Medicaid

RULE NO.:           RULE TITLE:

59G-13.071          Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting Waiver Provider Rate Table

PURPOSE AND EFFECT: The purpose of new Rule 59G-13.070, F.A.C., is to incorporate by reference the Florida Medicaid Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting Waiver Services Coverage and Limitations Handbook, ___________. The handbook establishes provider qualifications and enrollment; covered, limited, and excluded services; and standards for implementing the Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting Waiver.

SUBJECT AREA TO BE ADDRESSED: Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting Waiver Services.

An additional area to be addressed during the workshop will be the potential regulatory impact the amendment to Rule 59G-13.070, F.A.C., will have as provided for under Sections 120.54 and 120.541, Florida Statutes.

RULEMAKING AUTHORITY: 409.919 FS.

LAW IMPLEMENTED: 393, 409.902, 409.906, 409.907, 409.908, 409.912, 409.913 FS.

A RULE DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP WILL BE HELD AT THE DATE, TIME AND PLACE SHOWN BELOW:

DATE AND TIME: Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 3:00 p.m. ‒ 4:00 p.m.

PLACE: Agency for Health Care Administration, 2727 Mahan Drive, Building 3, Conference Room A, Tallahassee, Florida 32308-5407

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this workshop/meeting is asked to advise the agency at least 48 hours before the workshop/meeting by contacting: Sophia Whaley. If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service, 1(800)955-8771 (TDD) or 1(800)955-8770 (Voice).

THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE PROPOSED RULE DEVELOPMENT AND A COPY OF THE PRELIMINARY DRAFT IS: Sophia Whaley, Bureau of Medicaid Services, 2727 Mahan Drive, Mail Stop 20, Tallahassee, Florida 32308-5407, telephone: (850)412-4284, e-mail: sophia.whaley@ahca.myflorida.com

Please note that a preliminary draft of the reference material, if available, will be posted prior to the workshop at http://ahca.myflorida.com/Medicaid/review/index.shtml. Comments will be received until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 9, 2014.

THE PRELIMINARY TEXT OF THE PROPOSED RULE DEVELOPMENT IS:

59G-13.070 Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting Waiver Services.

(1) This rule applies to all providers of Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting Waiver services who are enrolled in the Florida Medicaid program.

(2) All providers of Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting Waiver services who are enrolled in the Florida Medicaid program must be in compliance with the provisions of the Florida Medicaid Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting Waiver Services Coverage and Limitations Handbook ____________. The handbook is available from the Medicaid fiscal agent’s Web site at www.mymedicaid-florida.com. Select Public Information for Providers, then Provider Support, and then Provider Handbooks.

(3) The following form is included in the Florida Medicaid Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting Waiver Services Coverage and Limitations Handbook and is incorporated by reference: Medicaid Waiver Services Agreement, AHCA Form 5000-_____, _______.

Rulemaking Authority 409.919 FS. Law Implemented 393, 409.902, 409.906, 409.907, 409.908, 409.912, 409.913 FS. History–New__________.


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Family Care Council Wins Award

On July 23, The Family Care Council Suncoast Region was honored with the Tom Ulvenes Outstanding Community Service Award at the Annual ADA Disability EXPO Advocacy Awards Ceremony and Community Forum. The event was hosted by the Alliance for Citizens with Disabilities Hillsborough County.

The award is given for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the Hillsborough County community through courageous advocacy, education, and diligent persistence in pursuing goals which improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

“This was a great honor for all Family Care Council Members, this award will reside in the Regional APD Office in Tampa for all of us. It means a lot for the entire Suncoast Region Family Care Council to be recognized,” said Family Care Council Florida Chair Pauline Lipps.

Family Care Council members Nancy Simmons, Patricia Oglesby, Ann Graybeal, Joanna Rydzewski, Kathy Colombrito, and Peter Ciccarello also attended the event.

 

Check out this story and more – in The Champion newsletter!


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An Amazing Bank Teller by James Vidrine

Rachel Doeble is a determined young woman who pursues her personal and career goals, and achieves them. Her career in the banking industry began in 2004, and she has been working full-time since June 2011 at Regions Bank in North Naples.

Doeble receives services from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) in Naples.

She is married to her husband, John, and with his three children from a previous marriage, plus her young daughter, they created a large family with four children. She truly has full days.

Things have not always been this bright for Doeble. She entered this world as a three month premature infant. At her birth, she tipped the scale at less than three pounds. She spent the first six weeks of her life in the hospital, gaining weight and increasing her strength, so she could go home.

Doeble’s parents, however, soon noticed problems with her development. In her 15th month, her pediatrician broke the difficult news to her parents. Her delayed development was due to cerebral palsy. This news, although a shock, did not deter them whatsoever. Her parents worked with her at home to master the developmental skills that other toddlers and preschool children seemed to achieve without effort.

When Doeble entered kindergarten, the work she and her parents had engaged in for years paid off handsomely. Rachel was able to walk independently, with some difficulty at times, but without the need for a wheelchair. She was described by others at school, as a very friendly and a likeable youngster, with excellent cognitive and vocabulary skills. Her teachers also noted she could be stubborn at times.

Perhaps it was her stubbornness that contributed to her ongoing ability to engage the world with a positive attitude and determination to succeed. Doeble recalls, “As a child I had difficulty maneuvering around in school. I had to learn how to ask for help when I needed it, but also how to decline offers for assistance that I did not need or want.”

Doeble’s positive and caring attitude and her determination to succeed have not gone unnoticed by her supervisors at Regions Bank. Her direct supervisor, Head Teller Kathy Wessling describes Rachel’s work as amazing and fabulous. She depends on Rachel as her right hand at work. Wessling said, “Rachel is a very inspiring person. For someone that has a disability, she does not hold back on what she needs to do or what she wants to do. She has no fear.” Bank Manager Todd Ruggeri adds, “Rachel has the best outlook on life. She never gets upset or discouraged.”

APD Human Services Counselor Jose Delvalle is Doeble’s Support Coordinator. Delvalle said, “When I first met Rachel, I saw a person who wants to achieve her goals. She is a capable and an independent person who can handle any situation with thoughtfulness.”

Doeble is a living a success story. Not only does she work full-time as a bank teller, but she is also a wife, mother, step-mother, and provides a loving home for her family. Doeble wants to encourage others that have a disability to be persistent and persevere through difficulties and roadblocks, to reach their dreams. Doeble said, “Don’t let negative thoughts get in your way. Play to your own strengths and this will assist you. Never be afraid to ask for help, especially at your workplace.”


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People First! Advocate Award

The Ridge Area Arc’s People First! Advocate Award honors an individual, group or organization which consistently demonstrate a leadership role in the advocacy of people with developmental disabilities. Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) Employment Liaison Jenny Sykes was presented with the Advocate Award on May 16 in Avon Park. Ridge Area Arc CEO Rhonda Beckman said “She is an exemplary advocate for APD customers throughout Hardee, Highlands, and Polk counties.”

Sykes coordinates multiple activities of agencies, service organizations, businesses, and providers to champion, educate, and promote hiring practices that target individuals with developmental disabilities. She works very closely with Ridge Area Arc’s supported employment staff to identify barriers and various misconceptions that employers may have about hiring individuals with disabilities.

Sykes also works to facilitate open lines of communication with family members and other natural supports of APD customers so they understand the Social Security Work Incentives and benefits are still retained. It goes without saying that her tenacity has paid off. She has provided the foundation to cultivate new business partnerships, develop community awareness, and helped employers understand the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities.

Jenny Sykes wins award

Jenny Sykes wins award

Jenny Sykes is recognized by the Arc

Jenny Sykes is recognized by the Arc


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APD Reviewing iBudget Decision

TALLAHASSEE —The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is reviewing the decision this week by the First District Court of Appeal (DCA) which found that the rules used in implementing the iBudget Florida waiver are invalid, thus overturning an earlier decision by the Division of Administrative Hearings.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “Our goal is always to protect the health and safety of the individuals we serve. We are evaluating the effects, if any, on APD customers and the financial impact of this decision. We hope to minimize any changes this ruling will require for people served by APD.”

The DCA decision states that all APD customers should receive their iBudget algorithm amount as their cost plan amount. Therefore, APD will need to go through the rulemaking process again to comply with the court’s decision.

About 30,000 APD customers use the iBudget Florida Medicaid waiver to direct and receive Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). The HCBS waiver is funded by state and federal tax dollars to help people with developmental disabilities live and participate in their local communities.

iBudget Florida is a new way to deliver Medicaid waiver services. It has been approved by both the Florida Legislature and the federal government. The iBudget waiver provides greater flexibility to choose services that best meet the customers’ needs given their unique situations.

iBudget Florida is designed to make the funding process fair and equitable for all Medicaid waiver customers. It has increased opportunities for customers to direct their own care.

Some other customer benefits of iBudget Florida are:

  • Ability to reallocate funds not spent on services in one month for future service needs within a fiscal year
  • Access to dental services that were not available in the former tier waiver
  • Support coordinators able to use iBudget technology to reduce paperwork requirements and communicate efficiently with providers and APD, and
  • Greater opportunity for APD to use new funds to serve people on the Medicaid waiver waiting list.

APD annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with the developmental disabilities of autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, spina bifida, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information on iBudget Florida, visit iBudgetFlorida.org. To learn more about the agency, call 1-866-APD-CARES  (1-866-273-2273) or visit APDcares.org.

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