Tag Archive for Rick Scott

APD cuts services – what a great Christmas present for the disabled.

From a friend in south Florida comes this holiday message.

Karen R Wagner PhD, BCBA-D, LMHC
Behavior Services of Brevard, Inc/TheBehaviorAnalyst.com

“Just in time for the holidays, APD is in a big push to discontinue services.  Those of you who have been around for a while may recognize this from several years ago, when notifications of reductions went out on Christmas eve, so those who were on vacation could not respond until it was too late.  Blaming the local folks is probably unwarranted, they will be fired if they talk to anyone, and the mandates are coming from a higher source.  However, services are being cut without notification.  One of our consumers finally received official notification three weeks after funding ran out, after his mother exchanged several emails with the area office.  We have several consumers whose services were cut in the past few weeks without notification to the WSC, consumer, or ourselves, as providers.  It seems to be picking up speed, as I would guess the plan is to slash services by the end of the year.

It seems there are several other things to prevent a fair defense of necessary services.  APD has told WSCs that all documentation must be sent digitally, however, the email portal is abnormally small, so the digital files cannot be sent.  After sending several times, many WSCs have to split files into several smaller files, multiplying the probability of the documentation being lost in the flurry of activity.  Most of the requested documentation is already in the consumer’s files at APD, so the reasons for requesting the documentation are fuzzy at best.

APD seems to have discontinued the Notice of Intent to reduce or deny services, in favor of an “Agency Action”, which just tells you the services are cut.  Parents don’t seem to be getting these until after the service has been discontinued. Parents still only have 10 days from the receipt of the letter to respond.  Please contact your parent advocacy resources, parent group members, and most importantly, YOUR LEGISLATORS!

One thing to be aware of: Despite the gloomy financial forecasting, state funding has never come from real estate taxes, or unemployment funds, or local municipalities.  Most agencies, including APD have always been funded by Florida sales taxes and other sources, the income from which have not changed much in the past few years.  It is impossible to find accurate income figures state-wide.  So why are services being slashed to consumers?  This appears to be a created crisis, giving legislators an opportunity to cut “social welfare” programs.

Medwaiver also has a sizable federal matching component, and based on recent figures, the “deficit” numbers seem to exclude the contributing federal match dollars, artificially inflating the shortfall. However, since the budget was set by the legislators, and has been shrinking every year, “shortfall” seems to be a misnomer.

Spread the word to consumers, families and advocates to check their mail, PO boxes, the consumer’s mail (if they live independently), or anywhere else the consumer may receive mail.  Requests for reconsiderations and hearings may need to be sent during the holidays.  Wish there was better news.”

Enjoy your Holy Days and keep squeaking those wheels.  We need to make enough noise – we need to be heard.

APD Statement on Governor’s Proposed Budget

From our friend Aaron Nangel.

Statement on Governor’s Budget Proposal by  Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Mike Hansen.

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is very pleased with Governor Scott’s budget proposal released recently.

The governor has once again shown that being fiscally responsible does not mean lessening our commitment to the state’s most vulnerable citizens, said APD Director Mike Hansen.

This budget proposal increases recurring General Revenue funding by $26 million to meet the needs of the 30,000 Floridians with developmental disabilities currently receiving services under the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver.

Also included is $83 million in additional funding to cover the current projected shortfall in waiver funding, said Hansen. “The governor’s proposal also requires the agency to tighten its belt and find greater efficiencies by reducing positions and funding for administration,” said Hansen.

See the Governor’s budget proposal.

Note there is no mention of the Wait List.

We can never stop squeaking our wheels.


19,000 Or More Florida Disabled on Med Waiver Waiting List

Headline from an online news source.

19,000 reported on Florida Developmental Disabilities (DD) waiting list.

This is not news or anything new.  The disabled have been under served for many years.  Under served is a polite way to the say that the State of Florida is ignoring the needs of the disabled. By their actions it is evident that Florida and its legislators would prefer the disabled just disappear – go away – stop existing and stop being such a problem.

19,000 is a large number to ignore and leave with no services.

What the State of Florida – What Rick Scott – What the Legislature – do not realize is that they will not go away.  They will keep drawing attention to the needs of the most vulnerable citizens in Florida.

One day and I hope it is soon – the citizens of Florida will insist that the disabled no longer be ignored.

In the meantime we will keep squeaking our wheels.  They can not ignore us forever.


Being Old, Disabled Or Vulnerable In Florida Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

You can abuse and neglect the disabled at an Assisted Living Facility in Florida – and you can still continue to run or work at the facility.  Yes, that is true.  There is no statute or administrative rule that prevents someone who has been held responsible for the abuse, neglect or even death of a resident of an ALF from being banned from running or working at an ALF.

Couple this with the fact that Governor Scott fired the head of the Long Term Ombudsman Council for being too aggressive in pursing complaints against  Florida Nursing Homes and other care facilities – and being disabled or aged in Florida can be dangerous to your health.

Rick Scott has formed a panel to look into the possibilities that care facilities for the aged and disabled may be harming our citizens.  Of course this is the same man who put the owner of a large chain of nursing homes in charge of the entity responsible to oversee and handle complaints from nursing homes.  The foxes are running the hen house.  We can expect no more from any commission that our Governor sets up.

The Miami Herald ran a series called Neglected to Death.  This investigated and documented numerous cases of abuse in our ALF’s and nursing homes.

This series ran in May and our vulnerable elderly and disabled are still without adequate protection.

At one time the State of Florida had the Human Rights Council and later the Florida Local Advocacy Council to oversee complaints and conditions in facilities for the disabled and elderly.  These were volunteers with no vested interested who gave of their time to inspect and investigate complaints and conditions.  They reported to the Governor’s office.

However, like the Ombudsman Council they were too aggressive and found too many problems with facilities that provided care to the vulnerable in our state.  Two years ago the council was abolished.  We no longer have a third party organization, or any organization for that matter, concerned with Human Rights Violations.

Being old or vulnerable in Florida can be hazardous to your health.

Governor Scott step up and appoint a third party organization to review Human Rights Violations.  It needs to be an organization of volunteers who have no vested or monetary interest in Nursing Homes, ALF’s or other facilities.

Make Florida a safe place for our elderly, disabled and vulnerable citizens.

Keep squeaking those wheels.

Previously posted on View From The Dark Side Of The Moon blog.

Governor Rick Scott’s Poularity Keeps Growing – Not!

From the Westside Gazette – Ft Lauderdale Florida

Rick Scott just loves Florida’s seniors and kids-yeah right