But, before you get excited also know that each of the districts in Florida
are being asked to cut their budgets. So, more people on Medicaid/
Medwaiver programs, less money to go around.
Beth T. the OT
Subject: HHS RELEASE--FLORIDA MEDICAID
Date: February 12, 2003
For Release: Immediately
Contact: CMS Public Affairs
Headline: HHS APPROVES FLORIDA INDEPENDENCE PLUS WAIVER TO ALLOW
MORE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES TO CONTROL THEIR CARE
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today approved a Florida Medicaid waiver to
expand the number of people with disabilities who can participate in
decisions about care in their communities instead of institutions.
"Florida's waiver will allow more consumers and their families to play an
active role in deciding how to plan, obtain and sustain community-based
services," Secretary Thompson said. "We are committed to giving states
greater flexibility in designing programs to help people with disabilities
live fuller, more independent lives."
With this approval, Florida will expand its existing Medicaid
consumer-directed care program using HHS' Independence Plus initiative,
which is designed to make it easier for states to give beneficiaries with
disabilities more control over their care and other services. Consumers and
their families will be involved in planning all aspects of service delivery,
including hiring, training and, if necessary, firing service providers.
Under the new waiver, state officials expect about 150 additional people to
participate in the consumer-directed program, which already serves about
2,000 residents. Participation is available to the frail elderly and
adults and children with disabilities who are eligible for Medicaid in
Florida. The waiver provides family and support care coordination, enhanced
personal care, respite, home and vehicle modifications for children with
developmental disabilities. Research has shown that when consumers control
their own Medicaid personal assistance services they are more satisfied with
their lives and their support services.
Florida is the second state to receive a waiver under the Independence Plus
initiative. The initiative is designed to help states fulfill the goals of
President Bush's New Freedom Initiative -- a broad government-wide effort to
ensure that Americans with disabilities have the opportunity to live close
to their families and friends, to live more independently, to engage in
productive employment and to promote community life.
States can use the Independence Plus initiative to obtain waivers that
strengthen supports to families or individuals, facilitate cost-effective
decision making by families, and aid states in meeting their legal
obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme
Court's Olmstead ruling, which encourages services in the most integrated
setting for people with disabilities.
"Allowing persons with disabilities and their families to engage to direct
their care is a high priority for the Bush Administration," said Tom Scully,
administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency
that oversees federal health insurance programs.
As former governors, President Bush and Secretary Thompson have made it a
priority to make it simpler for states to submit Medicaid and State
Children's Health Insurance Program waiver requests and to initiate new
programs such as Independence Plus. Since January 2001, HHS has approved
waivers and plan amendments that have expanded eligibility to more than 2
million people and enhanced benefits for more than six million people.
Additional information regarding federal support of consumer-direction
options can be obtained at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/independenceplus.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are
available at www.hhs.gov/news