FL Budget Cuts Pose Threat to Behavior Analysis Services
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FL Budget Cuts Pose Threat to Behavior Analysis Services

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The sunshine state has faced recent funding cuts, and many people have questioned how this will affect the future of Florida.

One area that’s being questioned is the devastating effects that the state will face concerning the availability of quality behavior analysis services. It’s argued that this will dramatically impact the thousands of families across the sunshine state who seek these services. And, in response to the concern, the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis made a call today for legislators to address the changes and reverse this proposal before it creates a wave of problems that might be difficult to correct later on.

The cuts in question, proposed by the state Agency for Health Care Administrations, include slashing Medicaid reimbursement rates for behavior analysis professions. This would affect the medically necessary services that primarily benefit children and adults who have Down syndrome, autism and other developmental disabilities or behavioral challenges.

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People facing these disabilities or challenges often require regular sessions with qualified providers. However, the AHCA’s proposal would cause providers to close their doors, which would create an opening for less qualified providers to provide service.

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Andrew Houvouras, the BCBA President of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis, shared his concerns on the matter, saying that “these unnecessary and unexpected rate cuts would indeed cut deep, and unlike other cuts they won’t heal.”

Moreover, Houvouras asserts that “make no mistake: if AHCA finalizes these changes, countless behavior analysis providers across the state will be forced to close down, leaving the clients they serve with few or no options for the services they need.”

Baker Wright, Ph.D., BCBA-D, who is the chief operating officer and co-owner of Behavior Management Consultants in Tallahassee, praised “the state’s efforts to root out fraud in health-related professions.” However, Wright noted that “in a misguided attempt to reduce fraud, the state is jeopardizing the care that so many vulnerable children across the state currently receive in order to live a healthier and more independent life.”

In turn, Wright asserted that “cutting the rates will likely force many excellent providers to stop accepting Medicaid clients, which could clear the path for less qualified and capable providers who could put these same children at risk.”

Wright argues that what would happen is “the state…pays less money, but the family and the individual pay the price.”

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina was the Opinion Editor of his high school’s newspaper, and he was also Editor-in-Chief of Miami Dade College’s Urbana literary and arts magazine wherein he also won the 2013 FCSAA Best Fiction Story in the State of Florida Award. He’s currently pursuing his Bachelor’s in English Literature. Hobbies in his free time include reading, writing and watching films and basketball.

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