The Florida Joint Public Policy Task Force
The Florida Joint Public Policy Task Force for the Elderly and Disabled is a combined effort of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys and the Florida Bar’s Elder Law Section.
Please consider contributing in 2020. Let’s make sure that this good work continues!
Using financial contributions and thousands of volunteer hours by Task Force members in 2019, here’s just a few of the things The Task Force accomplished to enhance your practice and improve the quality of life for Florida’s elders and those with disabilities:
- Challenged the arbitrary and capricious rule proposed by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) to establish a prioritization system for the Medicaid Managed Care Long Term Care Waiver HBCS wait list.
- Pushed AHCA to increase the Medicaid penalty divisor in compliance with federal law to $7,995.00.
- Ensured Florida’s Department of Children & Families (DCF) incorporated the revised and updated penalty divisor into DCF rules.
- Assisted the Florida legislature in developing and passing Florida’s new criminal exploitation statute, Fla. Stat. § 825.103.
- Monitored numerous legislative proposals that would have negatively impacted elders and those with disabilities in Florida, including helping defeat a bill that would have allowed predatory non-attorneys to engage in the practice of law in Medicaid and VA planning; defeating a guardianship bill that would have eliminated payment of guardianship compensation or attorneys’ fees for any work done as or for the guardian of the person; and defeating a bill that would have evaporated a Ward’s privacy rights in their medical records once a petition to determine incapacity was filed.
- Continued expansion of the Unlicensed Practice of Law (UPL) education efforts with nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the general public with pre-made UPL presentation available to members and assistance in scheduling events in member areas.
- Received Nursing Board approval for CEUs for the UPL presentation and working toward CEU approval for Social Workers.
- Engaged in discussions with DCF’s general counsel’s office regarding Personal Service Contracts, their legitimate uses in long term care planning and the benefits of them to the new Medicaid managed care long term care program.
- Received information regarding various issues raised by DCF Regional Counsel regarding Personal Service Contracts and confirmed the absence of policy changes and other issues as they arose.
- Monitored DCF Medicaid transmittals to ensure they comply with Florida’s law and rules, determined impact on Florida elderly and disabled, and forward relevant changes to membership.
- Challenged a DCF Medicaid transmittal which attempted to change policy with regard to whether an out-of-state homestead is a countable asset as a violation of Florida Medicaid rules. That challenge led to a review by Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and retraction of the transmittal.
- Continued on-going meetings and conversations with DCF regarding ACCESS issues and systematic eligibility problems.
- Obtained a DCF Centers for Excellence email for Elder Law Attorneys to use for problematic cases.
- Continue to monitor Florida’s Medicaid Managed Care roll out for systematic problems with the long term care waiver and the managed medical assistance waiver.
- Attended monthly telephonic and in person meetings with AHCA regarding the Medicaid managed care program. Continuously alerting AHCA and Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) to problems with the program.
- Continuous review, through public records requests and meetings with AHCA, DCF, & DOEA, of managed care company (MCO) issues, managed medical assistance (MMA) creditable coverage issues, long term care home and community based services (HCBS) waitlist problems, and eligibility policy changes.
- Continue to open the lines of communication with DOEA with regard to the Medicaid managed care HBCS transitions, including correcting incorrect information disseminated from MCOs and non-attorney Medicaid planners regarding the time frames for transfers from nursing homes to the community.
- Demanded a seat at the table in DOEA HCBS waitlist rule-making by attending the waitlist rule-making workshops, analyzing proposed rules, submitting substantive comments with regard to the rules and prioritization system, and requesting negotiated rule-making with regard to the waitlist prioritization rule.
- Developed a working relationship with Florida Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) to assist in creating a consistency across the state with regard to intake and placement on the Medicaid long term care managed care HCBS waitlist and enhancing consumer education and understanding the ADRC role in Medicaid managed care grievance processes.
- Began work with Florida legislators and statewide stakeholders on improving aspects of Florida’s guardianship statutes during the 2015 legislative session.
- Monitored DCF’s treatment of Veterans benefits in Medicaid eligibility to ensure compliance with federal law.