Nov 3, 2011


Ross O’Banion, Executive Director of Angels Unaware, Inc.

The Scott administration and APD has announced yet another round of cuts aimed at consumers and providers. According to their words the agency been working to bring its waiver expenditures within the legislative appropriations this year. The agency is also looking for opportunities to increase waiver flexibility and equity for consumers while continuing to protect their health and safety. The net effect has been little or no response to consumer needs (including health issues), the growth of wait-ing lists, lowering the quality of services and the consumer‘s quality of life.

This month APD published its five cost containment ideas and, as you are reading this, is rushing these to the various legislative sub-committee for approval and a time-table for implementation. To read the entire plan click here. Here are their five con-tainment ideas:

1. Standardize payment rates for intensive behavior residential habilitation starting 1/1/2011.
2. Collection of fees (co-payments) from APD consumers who have income to offset some of their costs of living in a group home.
3. Reduction of the rates it pays for therapy assessments and all nursing services to the standard rate paid by the Medicaid State Plan starting 4/1/2012.
4. Reduction of the difference it pays between solo providers and agencies for waiver services to no more than 20% by 4/1/2012.

There is no timeline announced for implementing cost sharing for parents who have children on the Medicaid Waiver. APD and AHCA are working jointly on this issue.
There is also a Long Range Program Plan for APD. This is the plan that ADP is giving to legislators to consider. It is important that you read and understand these plans. If implemented, they will directly affect you and your families. Click here to read the entire plan. Parents, relatives, advocates and friends need to contact your legislative delegation immediately and tell them no more cuts. (Click here for contact informa-tion.) Providers of services have been barely hanging on for the last few years. The legislature and Governor Scott needs to be looking for ways to increase or hold rates stable while a reliable source of revenue is developed. Our web site has some talking points with comments on each topic that may help you. We suggest that you read these before speaking with your legislator. Click here to view these talking points.

Your lack of action will result in loss of services because there will not be providers in business to provide these services. It is time to cut APD (state employees), support coordination and any other position in the state of Florida ‘food chain’ that does not provide direct daily physical ‘hands on’ assistance to our consumers. Eliminate excessive rules and over-site mountains of paperwork. As Governor Scott is bragging about job creation in Florida perhaps it is time to have him look at saving jobs that agencies like Angels Unaware, Inc. create to provide daily ‗hands on‘ services. In the 33 years I have had the privilege being the Executive Direc-tor I have never once seen and APD employee change a diaper, feed a consumer, take a consumer to a day program, a doctor‘s appointment or church.