Date: April 5, 2001
For Release: Immediately
Contact: HCFA Press Office
Headline: SECRETARY THOMPSON ANNOUNCES
FLORIDA MEDICAID CHANGES APPROVED
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced approval of several
changes in Florida's Medicaid program -- making good on President Bush's
commitment to give states more authority to run such programs.
Secretary Thompson said the department worked with Florida officials
to quickly resolve the state's request to make changes to the program,
bringing resolution to some issues that have been pending for years and
hampering the state's ability to make needed improvements to its Medicaid
program. The secretary vowed to work with state officials to resolve other
pending requests from Florida in the coming weeks.
"Our actions today make good on President Bush's promise to build a
stronger partnership with states and to provide a faster response from the
federal government," Secretary Thompson said. "We look to states to use
their Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Programs creatively and
effectively to expand access and improve health care for vulnerable
The changes approved today are:
* Florida's plan to increase special Medicaid payments to
certain hospitals, including teaching hospitals, children's hospitals and
other hospitals that provide the majority of care to the disadvantaged and
Medicaid patients in Florida.
* Florida's waiver to allow Medicaid beneficiaries with
diabetes in pilot areas to receive prescribed medications and related
supplies through mail order distribution.
* Florida's plan to pay for personal care services to
beneficiaries who receive 24-hour, integrated care from certain providers,
which will support needed care to some of the most vulnerable Medicaid
beneficiaries and frequently will help avoid the need for
Medicaid is a state/federal partnership that provides health
insurance to certain low-income individuals such as pregnant women, poor
children, the aged, blind and disabled. While the federal government pays at
least half, and sometimes more, of the cost of the program, states are
largely responsible for administering Medicaid. For instance, operating
within broad federal guidelines, states set their own eligibility rules,
determine additions to the basic benefit package and set the rate of payment
for services. Currently, about 41 million Americans depend on the Medicaid
program for access to health care services.
The Bush administration has made a commitment to states to give them
more power in determining the nature of their programs by granting waivers
from federal rules. These waivers allow states to experiment with new
health care delivery systems such a managed care. Waivers also allow states
to offer care to uninsured people who otherwise would not be eligible for
"Approving these waivers today is just another step toward our goal
of letting states do what is best to get needed health care to their
citizens," Secretary Thompson said.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are
available at www.hhs.gov/news.