Florida has failed to properly invest in its large population of citizens with a disability. Annual funding for Florida’s Medicaid waiver program has decreased since 2007 despite having a waitlist of more than 20,000 Floridians. With this in mind, last year Florida Voices for Health hosted a series of roundtable discussions featuring Floridians with disabilities, their families and caregivers to learn more about the barriers preventing disabled Floridians from achieving their full potential of health and life.
We are now thrilled to share the final report, Florida Disability Report 2021: Updates on Health Care Access and Social Barriers for Florida’s Disability Community, composed of key takeaways and compelling stories from the over 50 roundtable participants. (Read the summary here.)
The report identified several significant barriers faced by Floridians with any disability:
Insufficient access to Medicaid, highlighted by the massive waitlist for disability services
Access to oral health care
Difficulty locating doctors and other providers
Administrative barriers (ex: frequent reauthorization requirements, withholding of necessary services and other program changes)
Exorbitant out-of-pocket costs required to buy and maintain durable medical equipment (ex: wheelchair or hearing aide)
Finally, the report finds that to address the gaps in our health care system, the public and decision makers first need to reframe how Floridians with disabilities are perceived.