Last month, the Florida Senate and House Appropriations Committees passed budget proposals in the state that would benefit individuals with autism and the legislature has now sent the budget to Governor Rick Scott for his signature.
Estimates suggest around 1,300 people would be moved off the waiting list under the passed budget. Currently, Florida has around 20,000 individuals waiting for home and community based services and the lack of capacity puts their independence and well-being at risk.
The recently passed budget includes almost $39 million to reduce the waiting list for the iBudget HCBS waiver which serves adults with autism.
“We are incredibly grateful for the hard work by Health Care Appropriations Chairs Rene Garcia and Matt Hudson, as well as Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli,” said Angela Lello, Senior Director of Public Policy at Autism Speaks. "There is still much to be done and we look forward to working closely with the incoming Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran as well as the House and Senate leadership to make sure that these issues remain a priority.”
The budget also includes funding to implement a revised service rate for iBudget HCBS waiver providers to address capacity restraints for waiver providers. The rate relief will assist providers who are struggling to meet their obligations under new federal labor and Medicaid rules and to continue serving individuals with varying levels of needs.
Funding also was allocated to increase rates for iBudget services including adult day training, residential habilitation and personal supports by 3%, which restores some of the rate cuts that have been implemented in recent years.