Governor’s Budget Would Fund APD Waiting List for First Time in Eight Years

Jan 31 • 227 Views • View Comments

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Contact: Melanie Mowry Etters
Communications Director
850-414-7551

Governor’s Budget Would Fund APD Waiting List for First Time in Eight Years
Disability Stakeholders Praise Governor’s Budget

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Florida Governor Rick Scott is recommending
additional funding to serve people on the Agency for Persons with
Disabilities (APD) waiver waiting list. Governor Scott’s proposed
2013-2014 budget, Florida Families First,includes $1.1 billion for
APD. A $36 million increase will allow individuals on the waiting
list to enroll in the APD Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid
waiver so they will receive services in their local communities.
Those with the most critical needs will benefit from this new
funding. Leaders of organizations that serve people with disabilities
unanimously praised the governor’s budget proposal.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “I am so excited about Governor
Scott’s decision to fund the waiver waiting list for the first time
since 2005. I appreciate Governor Scott’s leadership and confidence
in APD. We also thank the members of the Legislature for their
ongoing support. Families, waiver support coordinators, providers,
and our employees have worked very hard to bring our waiver spending
under control. The agency is ready to begin helping those with the
most critical needs on the waiting list in the coming year.”


Family Care Council Florida Chairperson Jean Sherman said, “I am
delighted and encouraged to learn about Governor Scott’s proposed
request to provide funding for waiver services for those individuals
on the APD waiting list that are in the most critical need. The
ability to receive needed services will be life-changing for these
families and this new funding is a welcome first step in meeting the
community needs of all Florida residents with developmental
disabilities.”

Phil Pearson, waiting list parent and past chairperson of the Family
Care Council Florida, said, “What a great day for Florida and what a
great day for Florida’s disability community. Hats off to everyone
involved! This waiting list funding will be a godsend to all of those
folks waiting for services. They will now be able to rest assured
that their children will be properly taken care of. Granted, this
won’t fund every situation, but it is a good start, addressing the
most urgent cases. Thank you, Governor Scott, for this great day in
Florida’s history.”

Janice Phillips is a service coordinator for people with
developmental disabilities, and she is also the chairperson of their
association. Phillips said, “The Association of Support Coordination
Agencies of Florida would like to thank Governor Scott for his
continuing support of people with developmental disabilities. His
recent decision to include funding in his budget to provide services
for those on the waiting list demonstrates his commitment to
Florida’s most vulnerable citizens. We are excited about the
possibility of helping individuals with support needed to work and
live productively in their communities.”

Governor Scott’s budget proposal also includes about $2.5 million to
assist people on the waiver waiting list who have indicated that they
want to go to work. The funding will pay for job internships and
supported employment job coaches for about 1,000 people with
developmental disabilities.

“We are truly thrilled to hear this great news and offer our
heartfelt thanks to Governor Scott. The Florida Association of
Rehabilitation Facilities applauds Governor Scott’s decision to step
forward and meet the needs of Floridians with developmental
disabilities. The addition of funding to enroll individuals on the
developmental disabilities Medicaid waiver will greatly enhance the
lives of these people and those who provide for their daily needs.
Additionally, providing supported employment services for another
1,000 individuals means these individuals have the opportunity to
achieve their employment goals for the first time in their lives,”
said Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities Executive
Director Suzanne Sewell.

The ARC of Florida Executive Director Deborah Linton said, “These
additional funds will allow our chapters to protect the health and
safety of more Floridians with intellectual disabilities and in many
cases, fulfill their dreams of securing jobs and contributing to
their community. It will benefit the individual and the economy.”

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Executive Director Debra
Dowds said, “I am thrilled that Governor Scott is working to provide
funding for people on the waiting list. Individuals with
developmental disabilities need ongoing supports to be fully
integrated into their local communities. This money is critical to
helping people with crucial needs. The funding specifically for
supported employment and job internships will enable many individuals
with developmental disabilities to earn wages in competitive
integrated employment, moving them to greater self-sufficiency.”

Governor Scott is recommending in his budget proposal a one-time
appropriation of $40 million ($17 million in state funding, $23
million federal match) to pay off the waiver deficit from prior
fiscal years. With this funding, APD is projecting to be operating
within its appropriation for the first time since being made its own
agency.

Additionally, the budget proposal contains about $2 million for
facility maintenance which will include improvements to William J.
Rish Park on Cape San Blas in Gulf County. Rish Park is a state park
that was built and designed for people with disabilities. The
facilities on the bay side of the park were damaged many years ago by
a hurricane and have been unusable by people with disabilities.

Governor Scott is recommending $1.4 million for a new APD data system
that will provide service-specific information from providers
regarding service delivery dates and progress, as well as better
verification that services were delivered at the times and locations
that were authorized by the agency. Additionally, this data system
will include an electronic client central record that will provide
the agency with information that can be used to more efficiently and
effectively serve individuals with developmental disabilities by
providing electronic information that will track provider services
and progress for the client.

To view the complete list of Governor Scott’s budget recommendations,
visit www.floridafamiliesfirst.com.

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn,
and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than
50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida,
intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome.
For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities,
visit APDcares.org or call toll-free 1-866-APD-CARES
(1-866-273-2273).

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