By Thomas Perrin, JMI Public Affairs Director
Negotiations to expand Florida’s successful Medicaid managed care pilot program unfortunately disintegrated during this year’s legislative session. A combination of budget time constraints and veto threat from the Governor ultimately doomed the discussions.However, the legislature did successfully pass SB 1484 which requires ACHA to file for an extension with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for Medicaid waiver 1115, which created the pilot back in 2005. This waiver extension would be vital in allowing the legislature more time to work on the best plans to expand the program. Because the waiver expires on June 30, 2011, lawmakers currently have only one year remaining to determine a course of action. If the program is not expanded by the waiver expiration date, Medicaid recipients in the 5 pilot counties will be forced back into the traditional Medicaid system unless they voluntarily stay with their managed care provider.Public hearings are also a requirement of the program. Tiffany Vause, the Press Secretary for ACHA, has confirmed that the first meeting will be in Tallahassee at ACHA’s conference room on May 21 and subsequent hearings will be in the pilot counties of Duval and Broward on June 8 and 9.SB 1484 was certified and presented to the Governor yesterday. He has until May 28 to act.