Florida’s Medicaid pilot gets another lease on life — statewide plan still waitsby John Kennedy | December 15th, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott hailed the Obama administration’s approval Thursday of a two-year extension of the Medicaid managed-care effort underway in Broward and four other Florida counties since 2006.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the state’s bid to continue the pilot project, which supporters and some analysts have credited with saving money and improving patient health care. But the HMO-styled coverage has been criticized by many treated within the program, who complain about being forced to change doctors, travel far distances to see specialty physicians or change prescription coverage.
Along with Broward, such coverage is in place in Baker, Clay, Nassau and Duval counties.
Scott and the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration see Thursday’s approval as setting the stage for a future federal OK on the statewide managed care plan approved last spring by the Republican-led Legislature.
That plan, which has already drawn tough questioning from CMS reviewers, would shift virtually all of Florida’s 2.9 million Medicaid recipients into managed care, beginning in 2013.
“I want to publicly thank the staff at the Agency for Health Care Administration for all their hard work and perseverance in negotiating the extension of our Medicaid pilot program,” Scott said.
“ Today’s approval of the program’s extension through June of 2014 illustrates the federal government’s recognition of the great successes we’ve experienced. We’ve seen higher quality in administration of care, produced cost savings and consumers in the pilot have found improved access for Medicaid recipients,” he concluded.