Florida governor nixes incontinence proposal

Thursday, June 23, 2011

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A grassroots effort paid off for HME providers and Medicaid patients here when the governor declared a proposal to shift to a single provider for incontinence supplies "unconstitutional."

"We fought that tooth and nail," said Sean Schwinghammer, executive director of the Florida Association of Home Care Suppliers (FAHCS). "We worked with the governor's office and collected hundreds of letters. It was very much a group effort."

The proposal was included in the state's $69.1 billion budget for 2011-2012, which passed in early May. It called for the state to release a request for proposal for interested suppliers in July, and to implement the program in the fall. 

Industry stakeholders fought the proposal because they feared it would create access problems for patients.

"If they run out of supplies and there are paperwork issues, I can give them samples to hold them over," said Fino Randazzo, president and owner of Orlando-based Florida Home Health Equipment and Supplies. "If they call a 1-800 number, they are not going to get anything."

Gov. Rick Scott couldn't veto the provision because he would have had to veto the entire home health budget. Instead, on May 26, he issued a "signing statement" that said he would like to veto it, but could not. He was then able to declare the proposal unconstitutional because, under Florida law, it wasn't needed for the home health bill to pass.