On July 17, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) hosted a public meeting discussing changes to Florida’s Developmental Disabilities Individual Budgeting (iBudget) Waiver (Watch The Florida Channel Report here).
The Medicaid iBudget Waiver provides home and community-based supports and services to Floridians with developmental disabilities living at home or in a home-like setting. The program is designed to help people with developmental disabilities stay healthy and to prevent institutionalization while encouraging self-determination.
The program serves about 34,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There are about 21,000 more on the waiting list for the program.
APD and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), have been directed by the Florida legislature to redesign the waiver program to help address the program’s deficit. The deficit, however, is a direct result of underfunding for the program. Advocates fear that this redesign is an effort to cut services and funding for developmental disabilities all together.
According to APD, the plan must feature several elements, but advocates are most concerned about two of them:
Budget predictability – must include specific steps to restrict spending to budgeted amounts based on alternatives to the iBudget and four-tiered Medicaid waiver models
Services – the agency shall identify core services and recommend elimination of coverage for other services that are not affordable based on available resources
A weaker Florida iBudget Waiver will have far reaching impacts, but most importantly, it will deny thousands of Floridians the opportunity to start on the path of self-determination and self-sufficiency. It’s crucial for those who will be impacted to speak up!
Public comments about these changes may be submitted by July 24 at 5 p.m. You can submit a comment, including your own words, by clicking the form below.