St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Baby boom at sea
  • Weakest schools cheat students
  • Bill sets July 1 date to restructure education system
  • Around the state
  • Democrats target Bush with TV ads
  • State asks for flexibility with federal money
  • Florida on lookout for disease

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story
  • tampabay.com

    printer version

    State asks for flexibility with federal money

    Relaxed health care regulations could help offset Florida's Medicaid deficit.

    By ALISA ULFERTS

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 20, 2001


    TALLAHASSEE -- State lawmakers know what they want from their federal counterparts: flexibility to use money from Washington in ways that better serve Florida.

    "We're not asking for more money. The bottom line is, we appreciate what you do," state House Speaker Tom Feeney told members of Florida's congressional delegation Monday during the state's third annual Federal/State Summit.

    But if the state could tailor some federal programs to meet Florida's unique needs, it could accomplish more, Feeney and other state lawmakers agreed. And that means cutting some of the red tape that comes attached to federal money for state programs.

    Department of Children and Families Secretary Kathleen Kearney used visual aids to bolster her presentation during a workshop. She lifted several heavy binders filled with the forms her workers must submit whenever federal money is used to help a child.

    One caseworker was unable to fill out all the required paperwork to remove a child from a home, Kearney said.

    "So the child was returned to an unsafe home" and later killed, she said.

    U.S. Rep. Karen Thurman, D-Dunnellon, promised to look at ways to streamline the paperwork. "You tell a compelling story," Thurman said.

    But it's in health care that state officials said they could really use a relaxing of regulations, especially when it comes to Medicaid waivers. If six of Florida's pending applications for waivers and state program changes were approved by the federal government, it would bring another $50-million into the state's Medicaid program, said Bob Sharpe, Agency for Health Care Administration deputy secretary. A seventh waiver application would bring in much more, he said.

    That could help offset the nearly $1-billion Medicaid deficit facing the state this year. The state's priority among its applications, some of which have been pending for two years, is a proposal to use some Medicaid dollars for community-based care designed to keep the elderly out of nursing homes.

    But delays and denials by the federal agency that oversees states' Medicaid programs has kept Florida from pursuing those changes, which in this case would bring new federal dollars into the state.

    The congressional delegation agreed to help. Members have signed a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson asking him to expedite a review of Florida's applications.

    "We are aware of the problem. We are working on the program," said U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala.

    In addition to health and family care, state and federal lawmakers broke up into groups to discuss education, transportation, natural resources, agriculture and other topics.

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan


    From the Times state desk