Last week the House and Senate approved their state budget plans setting up conference negotiations. The House approved an $81.2 billion budget proposal for the year that begins July 1. The Senate unanimously approved an $85.1 billion budget, which is $3.9 billion apart on the overall size of the two budgets.
This is a large bridge to gap and there are questions whether the negotiations will reach agreement in time to bring the annual legislative session to an end by its scheduled conclusion May 5.
A positive note is that last week, Gov. Scott and the federal government announced an agreement that will make available $1.5 billion to help pay for the hospital Low Income Pool program which covers, health care for poor and uninsured patients. The deal was larger than expected and could free up money to be used in other parts of the budget.
With respect to specific cuts to healthcare, the House budget has $672.3 million in Medicaid reimbursement cuts, while a Senate plan included about $309.1 million in cuts. Almost all the cuts are to hospital programs.
Programs that are important to adult day care providers in the budget are:
- The Community Care for the Elderly has a $4 million increase in the House and a $3 million increase in the Senate
- The Home Care for the Elderly has a $3 million increase in the House and $1 million in the Senate.
- The Senate Budget contains $3,000,000 provided as a differential unit rate increase of up to 30 percent for those receiving services by an Alzheimer’s services adult day care center licensed under ch. 429.918, Florida Statutes, on or before March 1, 2017. The Department of Elder Affairs shall use the providers 2016-2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative Respite In-Facility Reimbursable Unit Rate as its baseline when calculating the differential increase.