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Providers ‘feel heard’ in Florida

Providers ‘feel heard’ in Florida

Beth BowenTALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Members of the Florida Alliance for Home Care Services (FAHCS) hit the state capitol in late January to talk up a budget request from the state Medicaid program for a 5% reimbursement increase for DME. 

The Agency for Health Care Administration’s request will need to be worked into the governor’s budget and, ultimately, passed by the legislature. 

“The visits were very positive across the board,” said Beth Bowen, executive director of FAHCS. “The industry has much more respect now, especially because of the pandemic. They know how important we are. We’re the ones who got people out of the hospital and into their homes to make room for the sick, and we saved the government money.” 

More than 30 participants held 24 meetings with lawmakers and their staff on Jan. 25. 

The 5% increase is the culmination of countless conversations with AHCA about a “dire” environment where shipping costs are 2.2 times more, on average, post-pandemic vs. pre-pandemic, Bowen says. 

“It’s been in the works for a while, with our lobbyist and their team working very closely with AHCA,” she said. “It was continued communication, letting them know that shipping and employment and product costs were increasing, far outweighing reimbursement, not even considering the service element. All that communication got their ear.” 

Lawmakers get it, too, Bowen says. In several meetings, they brought up the need for a reimbursement increase first. 

“They had their own stories, like a family member with a preemie baby who couldn’t get a bili blanket,” she said. “Florida has lost around 40% of its providers. There are a number of counties without any providers at all.” 

In the wake of the visits, providers were encouraged to invite their lawmaker to their location – and a number were doing just that, Bowen says. 

“Several participants said it was the best they’ve ever felt walking away from a lobbying visit,” she said. “They felt heard.”


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