FABA Legislative and Public Policy Committee

Eric Prutsman – Lobbyist & Legal Counsel – Email Eric

Steve Coleman – Public Policy Director – Email Steve

Yulema Cruz – Co-Chair – Email Yulema

Mary Riordan, PhD – Co-Chair – Email Mary

Political Action Committee Email - Email the Committee

 

 

Legislative Update – 2020 Session – June, 2020

COVID-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact upon state and local government across Florida. The 2020 Legislative Session ended over three months ago and Governor DeSantis still has not acted upon all the bills passed. Understandably, the Governor specifically asked the Legislature to NOT send him legislation, including the State Budget, until he could focus on non-COVID-19 issues. Therefore, it was not until late May that the first large group of bills were sent to the Governor’s desk.

Among the bills sent to the Governor, and still waiting for action as of this date is HB 731- Agency for Health Care Administration that contains an exemption from the health care clinic licensure for Medicaid providers. An exemption from the health care clinic licensure has become an important issue for behavior analyst providers ever since the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) first raised the issue of the health care clinic licensure as a prerequisite to enrollment as a Medicaid behavior analysis provider in April of 2019. Although many behavior analysis provider groups were either licensed as health care clinics or had received an exemption from the health care clinic law prior to 2019 based upon the 2003 health care clinic law, other behavior analyst groups had not sought a license or exemption. FABA immediately opposed AHCA’s directive and advocated that tying Medicaid enrollment to the clinic licensure or an exemption was a significant economic hardship. FABA asked AHCA both for more time to comply, and for support to make a legislative change to the health care clinic licensure law. AHCA moved the compliance date to December 1, 2020, and agreed to seek a legislative change. If HB 731 is signed into law, behavior analysts enrolled as Medicaid providers will automatically qualify for an exemption to the health care clinic licensure law. Thank you to those of you who have already sent an e-mail to the Governor asking him to sign the bill.

 

In addition, State Representative Rene Plasencia filed House Bill 575 (identical to Senate Bill 1206 by Sen. Gayle Harrell), which would have created a separate health care clinic licensure exemption specifically for Board Certified Behavior Analysts. As a health care clinic exemption solely for behavior analysts, FABA prefers Representative Plasencia’s solution to the health care clinic licensure issue over the more general Medicaid provider exemption contained in the AHCA bill. House Bill 575 passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 117 – 0, and passed two of the three Senate Committees but failed to advance to a final committee hearing in the last days of Session. Hundreds of our members e-mailed and called in the final days of Session to request that HB 575 & SB 1206 be taken up by the Senate.  HB 575/SB 1206 also contained a proposed clarification to the public education statute to clarify that Registered Behavior Technicians can work with students in the public K-12 schools. FABA maintains that both of these issues need to be advanced as soon as the Legislature begins to hold committee meetings for the 2021 Legislative Session.  Special thanks to Rep. Rene Plasencia for his efforts to advance the clinic exemption and RBT issues during Session.

 

Another bill of significance includes: Senate Bill 82 by Senator Aaron Bean that makes revisions to the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver operated by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) to improve the quality of services provided and to standardize agency processes. The bill requires waiver support coordinators who act as case managers for individuals on the waiver to be employees of qualified waiver support coordination organizations. The bill also requires all APD service providers to bill for services and submit all required documentation through the agency’s electronic client data management system. Lastly, the bill allows the Agency for Health Care Administration to seek federal approval to implement an increased rate for Medicaid intermediate care facilities that serve individuals with developmental disabilities (ICF/DD) who have severe behavioral or mental health needs. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on June 22, 2020.

Apart from legislation, FABA has been working closely over the past three months with both AHCA and APD on COVID-19 telehealth issues, initially assisting in providing guidelines for the administration of telehealth and later working through many of the day-to-day challenges that behavior analysis providers have experienced. FABA will continue to engage agency personnel on a regular basis to address your concerns and questions. Please contact us at [email protected]

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