Florida’s Proposed Changes To Medicaid Long-Term Care Raise Questions

shutterstock_1504007811-2

Proposed Changes to Florida Medicaid’s Long-Term Care Program

JACKSONVILLE, Florida — The State of Florida’s plan to revamp its Medicaid program in 2012 includes significant changes that will impact those Floridians who receive long-term care. The state’s proposed new Long-Term Care Managed Care program, which will cover adults 65 and older and younger adults with disabilities, will affect as many as 84,000 current Florida Medicaid beneficiaries as well as another 27,000 eligible individuals who are on various waiting lists for services.

But even as the state waits for federal approval of the plan, questions abound about how the plan will be implemented, how beneficiaries will be impacted, and whether the new program can accomplish its ambitious goals.

These questions are explored in a new briefing paper — Proposed Medicaid Long-Term Care Changes Raise Host of Questions About Impact — from researchers at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. The educational briefing is one of a series commissioned by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and the Winter Park Health Foundation. Two earlier briefs were released in December 2011.

“Moving to managed long-term care is a complex and difficult undertaking, particularly given the broad program changes proposed and the short time frame,” the researchers write.

In the brief, the authors cite questions arising about:

  • The timeline and resources allocated for implementation of the new program;
  • The structure of the new program, which has beneficiaries required to enroll in two different programs;
  • The services to be provided to help beneficiaries transition to the new program;
  • The feasibility of shifting patients from institutional to community-based care settings;
  • The impact on program costs;
  • The impact on quality of care.

“In order to better understand what the implications of the changes will be for service delivery and program costs, more detail is needed, particularly about who will have access to community-based services, how transitions and service coordination will be achieved, and how the adequacy and quality of services will be assured,” the authors write.

Copies of the brief may be found at www.dupontfund.org, www.wphf.org and at hpi.georgetown.edu/floridamedicaid.