Oct 7, 2009

APD Evaluating Options

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is considering

its options after U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle granted a

preliminary injunction last week to six plaintiffs who requested a

hearing to appeal their tier placement.

The judge said, “As required by the Legislature, the Agency set

about assigning the waiver program beneficiaries to the tiers. It was

an enormous undertaking. The Agency went to commendable lengths to

try to make each decision correctly.”
Of the approximately 5,500 people who requested hearings, about

1,800 people did not have a financial reduction to their current

services. The agency found more than 750 hearing requests legally

sufficient. The agency applied state and federal standards to the

hearing requests. Everyone whose request was denied was given an

opportunity to appeal the denial. Judge Hinkle disagreed with the

agency’s application of the federal standard. He determined that the

federal standard was lower than the state standard and that the six

plaintiffs did not have to appeal in state court. He ruled the six

plaintiffs should receive a hearing before services are reduced.

Since June 16, the agency has not been enforcing tier

assignments on beneficiaries whose hearing requests were denied

because they were insufficient.

APD Director Jim DeBeaugrine said, “The Agency’s primary

concern has been and continues to be protecting the health, safety,

and welfare of

the people we serve. We are happy that the judge acknowledges the

diligent effort our agency has made to protect the rights of the

people we serve, and to follow the law. We appreciate the judge’s

careful consideration of the facts in this case.”

The agency has 30 days to determine if it wants to appeal the


Melanie Mowry Etters, APR, CPRC, CPM
Communications Director
Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD)
4030 Esplanade Way, Suite 380
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0700