AHCA offers 'enhanced' help to kids in nursing homes

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The state Agency for Health Care Administration on Tuesday said it will assign staff members to better coordinate the care of disabled children in nursing homes and help families who want to move their children out of the facilities.

In a memo, Deputy Secretary for Medicaid Justin Senior wrote that each child in a nursing home will be assigned a “nurse care coordinator.” Those coordinators will participate in meetings and discussions related to the care that the children receive and will have regular contact with parents or guardians to address questions and provide support. Also, the coordinators will help develop plans for children whose parents or guardians want to move them out of nursing homes so they can live with their families or in community facilities. “For those parents who choose to transition their child from the skilled nursing facility to their family home or other community setting, the nurse care coordinator will begin aggressive discharge/transition planning in consultation with all involved in the child’s care, including the skilled nursing facility discharge planner,” the memo said.

AHCA took the steps amid a controversy that has included the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that Florida has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by improperly placing children with complex medical problems in nursing homes. Also, advocates have filed a lawsuit against the state over the issue, which involves children in the Medicaid program. State officials have denied wrongdoing and say they make services available so the children can live outside nursing homes.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.