Posts Tagged ‘Florida Department of Children and Families’

DOJ Proposes Overhaul of Florida’s Program for Disabled Children

January 11, 2013

By Carol Marbin Miller & Toluse Olorunnipa, The Miami Herald

TALLAHASSEE – In a new and even harsher indictment of Florida’s treatment of severely disabled children, federal civil rights lawyers have issued a comprehensive blueprint for overhauling the state’s system of care for frail youngsters.

The 17-page “settlement proposal” by the U.S. Justice Department demands the state stop slicing in-home nursing services for frail youngsters, stop ignoring the requests of family doctors who treat disabled children and stop sending hundreds of children to geriatric nursing homes — where they often spend their childhoods isolated from families and peers. (more…)

A Florida Mom’s Lonely Fight for Her Disabled Son

December 28, 2012

By Carol Marbin Miller, The Miami Herald

Tereza Pereira had cared for her woefully disabled son at home for most of his life. But she was in her 50s now, working two jobs to stay afloat, and state health administrators had repeatedly refused to pay for enough in-home nursing care to keep Bryan safe.

Pereira wanted her teenage son to live at a place called Baby House, a small group home for medically fragile children and young adults, with a long track record of treating children like Bryan as family. His care would have cost the state $300 per day there.

State health and disability administrators had a different plan: For $200 more each day, Bryan would live in a nursing home. (more…)

Florida Vows to Stick Fewer Kids in Nursing Homes, Place Stronger Emphasis on In-Home Care

December 13, 2012

By Carol Marbin Miller, The Miami Herald

Florida’s top healthcare administrator is vowing to keep as many medically fragile children as possible at home with their parents — and to improve the lives of those who remain in nursing homes — amid an outcry over hundreds of children living in institutions designed for frail elders.

Liz Dudek, who heads the state Agency for Health Care Administration, outlined a series of new policies on Wednesday to help the parents of severely disabled children care for their kids at home. The new policies also are contained in a memo written Tuesday by Justin Senior, AHCA’s deputy secretary for Medicaid, the insurance program for needy and disabled people. (more…)

Florida Moving to Work on Implementing Health Care Law

November 12, 2012

By Stacey Singer, The Palm Beach Post

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, President Barack Obama has won re-election and a majority of Florida voters rejected Amendment 1, the effort to etch into the state constitution a permanent ban on mandatory health insurance.

With the Affordable Care Act more certain than ever, some lawmakers are calling for a careful look at how to implement it here. Even Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a staunch opponent, appeared to be softening his longstanding refusal to acknowledge the law.

“Just saying ‘no’ is not an answer,” he said in a statement released by his press office late Friday. “We need to focus on how Obamacare affects each of our families,” he said, adding he is concerned about the impact for cost, access and quality of care.

“I am looking forward to working with legislators and others on specific ways to address these issues,” he said. (more…)

Florida Fires Back at Feds Over Kids in Nursing Homes

October 4, 2012

With hundreds of children still in adult nursing homes, state health administrators and federal civil rights lawyers remain deadlocked in a dispute over where the children should live.

By Carol Marbin Miller, The Miami Herald

The war of words between Florida health administrators and federal civil rights lawyers continued Friday as the administration of Gov. Rick Scott rebuffed the U.S. Justice Department’s offer to help remove hundreds of children from nursing homes.

In a letter to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Florida social service chiefs called “unfounded” the claim that the state needlessly warehouses disabled and medically fragile children in nursing homes meant to care for elders. Agency heads reached that conclusion after a two-week investigation in which they interviewed the parents or caregivers of many disabled children “to ensure that they were aware of the services available for them in the community.” (more…)

Update: DOJ to Quickly Address Children in Nursing Homes

September 26, 2012

Saying that time is “of the essence,” the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday offered to quickly meet with Florida officials about a federal investigation that found disabled children were unnecessarily being placed in nursing homes.

“Children in Florida are unnecessarily living in nursing homes,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said in a letter to lawyers for three state agencies. “Other children are at serious risk of the same fate. Families are being separated, and parents are being forced to confront the cruel choice of struggling daily to find a way to care for their child at home without necessary supports or placing their child in a nursing facility.”

The state has vehemently denied the findings of the investigation, which the Department of Justice released Sept. 4. Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Liz Dudek released a statement late Tuesday that said the agency is open to meeting with Department of Justice officials to “clarify their misunderstanding.” (more…)

AHCA Refutes DOJ Claim of Kids in Nursing Homes

September 11, 2012

In light of last week’s letter from the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that Florida has been systematically dumping sick and disabled children — some of them babies — in nursing homes designed to care for elders, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek released a statement yesterday refuting the allegations.

AHCA Secretary Dudek Sets the Record
Straight About Care Provided to
Complex Children

TALLAHASSEE — “Floridians are being misled by the unfounded allegations in last week’s Department of Justice letter about the availability of medical services for Medicaid eligible children, the funding of medical services for these children and the choices Florida provides to parents for the care of children with medically complex conditions. It is important for Floridians know the facts.” (more…)

Disabled Kids Should Get Home Care, Lawsuits Say

March 20, 2012

By Lauren Mayk, WFLA

TAMPA – Zurale Cali drives two hours a day to see her 5-year old son, kiss him on the cheek and hope for some eyebrow movement that will tell her he knows she is there.

Andi, who nearly drowned during a bath as a baby, has brain damage and is hooked to a device that helps him breathe.

Andi lives in a nursing home in Tampa because his family says the state won’t pay for 24-hour care that would let him live with his two brothers and parents.

“I can’t change what happened to him,” his mother said. “But I believe the law and the state and Medicaid can do a lot of things much better for these children.” (more…)