Judge hammers Florida Medicaid on care for kids

After nearly a decade of legal battling, a federal judge this week found widespread problems in the way Florida’s Medicaid program has provided health care to children.

Judge Adalberto Jordan, in a 153-page decision, said Florida’s history of low reimbursement payments to doctors led to a lack of access to care for many children in Medicaid. He also pointed to problems with issues such as children being improperly terminated from the program, inadequate efforts to sign up children for coverage and a lack of available dental care.

“In discharging its responsibility to set physician reimbursement rates, AHCA (the state Agency for Health Care Administration) does not consider whether the reimbursement rates are sufficient to ensure that children on Medicaid have access to health care services equal to that of other children in the general population,” Jordan wrote.

Jordan, who is now a judge on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but heard much of the case while serving as a district judge in Miami, found that Florida did not comply with parts of federal Medicaid law. In doing so, he agreed with many of the arguments of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which along with other plaintiffs, filed the case in 2005.

Entire Article .pdf | Tallahassee Democrat