Governor DeSantis Signs Senate Bill 82 to Support Vulnerable Floridians

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed Senate Bill 82 (SB 82), which requires several changes to how the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) delivers home and community-based services through its iBudget Florida waiver to Floridians with developmental disabilities. These new requirements became effective on July 1, 2021.

Some of the major facets of SB 82 include requiring APD to reform waiver support coordination by mandating that all Waiver Support Coordinators (WSCs) be members of a provider agency. The bill centralizes the Significant Additional Needs (SANs) process to ensure that individuals receive services that are medically necessary and follow state and federal Medicaid regulations. It also requires providers to use the APD iConnect system when billing for services.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “I want to thank Governor DeSantis for signing this very important bill for people with disabilities and the House and Senate for passing this bill. I also want to thank President Bill Galvano and Senator Aaron Bean for their continual leadership to help promote and assist with the needs of people with developmental disabilities. They have been longstanding advocates for individuals with unique abilities. Senate Bill 82 will enhance the iBudget Florida waiver service delivery in a number of ways. Our customers will have better trained WSCs to help them manage their services. APD will centralize requests for additional waiver funding to ensure only requests that comply with state and federal requirements are approved. We look forward to working with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and our stakeholders to move forward with implementing this initiative over the next year.”

“Ensuring and improving access to critical safety net services for individuals with disabilities will always be a fundamental priority for the state of Florida,” said AHCA Secretary Mary Mayhew. “This legislation is an important step forward. I am pleased that Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 82 into law, and I commend Senator Bean and Representative Burton for their commitment to passing this legislation.”

Agency stakeholders are pleased to see Governor DeSantis sign SB 82.

“The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) recognizes the importance of this bill for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities," said FDDC Executive Director Valerie Breen. "We made tremendous strides during the legislative session and it would not have been possible without leaders such as Senator Bean.”

Association of Support Coordination Agencies in Florida Chairman Ryan Chandler and ASCA Executive Director Janice Phillips jointly said, “The Association of Support Coordinating Agencies applauds the approval of SB 82 by Governor DeSantis. It also recognizes the leadership of Sen. Aaron Bean in developing the legislation. The bill is a strong step in improving the quality of services to individuals with disabilities and families who depend upon the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the Medicaid waiver program. The bill will enhance the level and reliability of services while strengthening the fiscal accountability of the waiver program. ASCA and its members stand ready to work with the Governor and APD in implementing the bill, which will lead the way for additional refinements in the waiver program to ensure that consistent and meaningful services are provided to this vulnerable population.” 

Family Care Council Chair Dina Justice said, “Family Care Council Florida appreciates the support the state of Florida has given to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in favor of the iBudget. As parents and self-advocates, we sincerely hope this care continues. The state of Florida should continue to appropriately fund this vulnerable population as the services they need allow them to receive the health and safety they deserve in their communities.”

“SCAF will move forward to meet the needs of our consumers although there are concerns. During the COVID-19 crisis, our customers have already been through a great deal of change and upheaval. In-person meet-and-greets and job transitioning to a new style of coordinating services at this time will likely be difficult for everyone. We hope that APD takes into consideration the knowledge and experience of the solo and small agency support coordinators who have been working with consumers for a very long time through this transition,” said Support Coordinators Association of Florida Chairperson Laura Mohesky.

Major facets of the bill include: