Medicaid for people with intellectual disabilities and transparency of retirement homes are highs for Carlos Guillermo Smith

representing Carlos guillermo smith is preparing for the 2022 legislative session, in which he promises to shed light on what he considers one of the Florida legislature’s least understood issues: the needs of people with developmental disabilities.

Smith, an Orlando Democrat, helped lead the charge last session to secure tens of millions of additional funds to take 2,000 people off a long waiting list for the iBudget Medicaid waiver program, run by the ‘Agency for People with Disabilities (APD).

Created by the former governor. Jeb bush, who has dubbed himself a compassionate curator, the program enables people with intellectual or developmental disabilities to receive services in their homes and in the community that allow them to continue living outside of institutions.

This is a waiver program because Medicaid does not cover home and community services. As this is a waiver program, however, there is no entitlement to service, which means waiting lists can grow.

But more expensive institutional care is a right.

Smith said lawmakers are unaware of the long waitlist for the service because state economists don’t include expected enrollment needs or program costs like other Medicaid programs.

“They don’t want to shed light on what bothers them the most, which is that we’ve left so many disabled Floridians behind us,” Smith said. “But that’s my goal. My goal is to shed light on this immense need that exists. Many lawmakers are not even aware that the ODA waiting list is 22,000 people and that 40% of those on the list have been on it for more than 10 years. They are shocked to find out. They should be shocked. They should be appalled. And I hope that will get them to join us in trying to make this investment. “

It doesn’t stop asking for another big investment to reduce the waiting list, either. Smith co-sponsor HB 675 with Rep. Marie woodson. The proposal establishes a Medicaid enrollment program for people between the ages of 16 and 64 who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

Increasing financial reporting requirements for Florida nursing homes also remains a top priority for the representative, who noted the Speaker’s powerful representative of the House appropriations. Jay trumbull is also invested in the issue. The House appropriations committee is expected to consider Trumbull’s bill, HB 539, when it meets on Tuesday.

“We give the nursing home industry, which is a for-profit industry, $ 4 billion a year in taxpayer money. My goal is to make sure the dollars spent are transparent and accountable. We want to make sure we are setting the standards for resident care in our nursing homes. And I feel really good that we have some bipartisan synergy on the side of the House to raise the bar in our nursing homes. “

In addition to the health care program, Smith will push for increased funding to support the arts, which he says is a $ 4 billion economic engine in the state. From performing arts venues to fine art museums, businesses were among the first to close during the pandemic and they are still struggling to reopen.

The legislature must also address workforce housing issues, said Smith, who was part of a group of lawmakers who called on the government. Ron DeSantis declare a state of emergency on the rise in rents.

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