State seeks decision on Medicaid managed care

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The federal government is expected to make a decision by the end of February about a key part of Florida’s proposal to transform its Medicaid program into a statewide managed-care system.

Liz Dudek, secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, said Tuesday that what is known as a “90-day clock” began in late November for the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to decide whether to approve a proposal to shift Florida seniors who need long-term care into HMOs and other types of managed care. Florida has been seeking approval of the proposal since August 2011, but the 90-day clock gives a deadline for the decision.

The state expects to start awarding contracts to managed-care plans in early 2013, with seniors beginning to enroll later in the year.

Dudek told a House subcommittee that Medicaid director Justin Senior and other staff will meet with federal officials Dec. 10 about getting approval of the proposal. “We are in weekly, if not daily, conversations with the federal government about the long-term care waiver (proposal),” she said. The deadline does not apply to another proposal that would shift the broader population of Medicaid beneficiaries into managed-care plans. That proposal also has been pending with the federal government for more than a year, but Florida is seeking to move forward first with the long-term care changes.

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.