Aug 25, 2010

APD to Hold iBudget Florida Meetings

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities will be holding a series of meetings around the Big Bend to discuss the new individualized budget concept called iBudget Florida. The agency has selected several North Florida counties for the initial implementation of the new system that pays for supports and services for people with developmental disabilities so they may live in their local community.

iBudget Florida was approved by the Legislature in the spring as the new direction for delivering services to people through APD’s Medicaid waiver. Federal approval must be received before the initial phase-in begins. The approval is expected in late 2010 or early 2011.

iBudget Florida implementation will begin in Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Gadsden, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Jefferson counties. APD serves approximately 1,000 waiver-enrolled customers in this region. Several months later, iBudget will be expanded to Bay, Gulf, Calhoun, Jackson, Washington, and Holmes counties. APD has already notified consumers, families, waiver support coordinators, and providers of the phase-in plans by letter and e-mail. APD plans to eventually expand iBudget Florida statewide.

APD Director Jim DeBeaugrine said, “By selecting the Tallahassee region, it will allow the agency’s headquarters employees to support the local office staff, customers, families, waiver support coordinators, and providers in implementing iBudget Florida. Its size will allow for a manageable implementation of the new program while permitting APD to collect data for evaluation.” Director DeBeaugrine will host four meetings next week on iBudget Florida. Residents of any North Florida county may attend to learn more about the new program.

The planned schedule is as follows:

Monday, August 30 Tallahassee Community College, 444 Appleyard Dr., Workforce Development Building, Grand Banquet Hall, Tallahassee Fl
3-5 p.m. – Public Forum & 6-8 p.m. – Public Forum

Tuesday, August 31 Madison Public Library Meeting Room, 378
NW College Loop, Madison Fl
6-8 p.m. – Public Forum

Wednesday, Sept. 1 Carrabelle City Commission Chambers,
1001 Gray Avenue, Carrabelle Fl 6-8 p.m. – Public Forum

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, anyone requiring accommodations to participate in the meetings is asked to advise APD at least three days before the meeting by contacting:

Arthur Barndt iBudget Florida Operations Program Manager
4030 Esplanade Way, Suite 360H Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0950
(850) 410-2424 or

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).

Individualized budgeting is a concept that is being used in many other states for people enrolled in developmental disabilities Medicaid waivers. iBudget Florida is designed to make the funding process fair and equitable for all Medicaid waiver customers. It will provide for more self-direction for the person to direct their care. The new system will also allow the agency to have more budget control and financial predictability.

Some of the customer benefits of iBudget are:

*Greater ability to choose services that matter to them, given their unique situations.
* Greater flexibility for customers to respond to changing needs.
*Reduced bureaucracy and “red tape.”
* Support coordinators freed to focus on providing help that makes a real difference.
* Confidence that funding is fair compared to other customers who are similarly situated.
*Reduced likelihood of policy changes that cause significant disruption due to budget deficits.
* Security of a financially stable system that will be there to serve customers down the road.
* Greater control over their lives.
* Greater opportunity for APD to use new funds to serve people on the waiting list rather than resolve deficits.