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Disabilities agency still grappling with budget problems

By Lynn Hatter


Tallahssee, FL – Last year the Agency for Persons with Disabilities overspent its Medicaid budget by 170-million dollars. That deficit has been reduced to $55 million this year. As Lynn Hatter reports, its hoping a new system to fund those benefits will help it get back into the black.

The agency is continuing its roll-out of a new funding system that it hopes will help reduce the deficit to zero. That system, called the i-budget, allows families and individuals to spend their money in any way they want up to a certain limit. Agency spokeswoman Melanie Mowry-Etters says I budgets will help the agency live within its means.
"One of the benefits of i-budgets is, you know what your appropriation is, and everyone on the waiver will get an amount that's within our total appropriation."

About 20-thousand people are still on a waiting list for services. Persons with disabilities are exempt from the state's Medicaid managed care pilot and from the planned statewide expansion. But some lawmakers say if the agency doesn't get its budget under control, it will lose its managed care exemption.