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HHS lets Fla. proceed with managed-care push

By Beth Kutscher
Posted: February 20, 2013 - 3:30 pm ET

The state of Florida won a second victory from HHS that will help the state introduce a statewide Medicaid managed-care program.

The agency notified the state that it would grant its request for a medical assistance waiver—a decision that comes just weeks after the department granted Florida's first request for a waiver for its long-term-care program.

The waivers allow the state to enroll virtually all Medicaid beneficiaries into the managed-care program, including elderly and disabled beneficiaries currently in nursing homes.

However, HHS noted in a letter (PDF) that the agency will work with the state's Agency for Health Care Administration to ensure a “robust independent consumer support program” to help address beneficiary concerns.

Gov. Rick Scott in a news release called the decision “a great win for Florida” that will give the Medicaid program increased flexibility to improve care coordination, manage chronic conditions and boost preventive care.

The waiver requests have been seen as a key catalyst for the state to expand its Medicaid program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as it looks for ways to control costs.

Scott, a former executive CEO for what is now HCA, the investor-owned hospital giant, added in the release that the goals of the managed-care program include encouraging patient-centered care and personal responsibility, providing fully integrated care and allowing new reimbursement models with an increased focus on outcomes.


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