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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Haridopolos to Rick Scott: You're breaking the law

24

March

Senate President Mike Haridopolos sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott today telling him he's breaking the law by withholding $35 million in 2010 budgeted funds for Jackson Memorial Hospital.

It's the same argument Sen. J.D. Alexander made when Scott sold the state planes without legislative approval, and part of the arguments Sens. Thad Altman and Arthenia Joyner made when Scott unilaterally rejected federal funding for high-speed rail.

"The 2010-2011 budget passed by the Legislature and signed into law by your predecessor bears the force of law," Haridopolos said. "Failure or refusal by an Executive to effectuate the expenditures authorized by that budget is expressly proscribed by Florida Statute 216.195 as a prohibited impoundment of funds. Moreover, we believe that Florida Statute 216.195, which prohibits the impoundment of funds, requires the Executive to effectuate the expenditure.

"Respectfully then, I therefore request that you take immediate action to effect the appropriation to Jackson Memorial Hospital in the amount previously authorized by the Legislative Budget Commission."

Here's the entire letter.

March 24, 2011
The Honorable Rick Scott
Governor
The Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Dear Governor Scott:

On behalf of the Florida Senate, I respectfully request that you direct your office to file the necessary budget request with the Legislative Budget Commission in order to disburse funds authorized by the General Appropriations Act of 2010 for the operation of Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami-Dade County.

Line Item 191 of the Conference Report on HB 5001 authorized an appropriation for Jackson Memorial Hospital, based on an expected appropriation by the United States Congress of enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding, if Jackson met four conditions set forth in proviso language in Line Item 191. Congress did, in fact, appropriate enhanced FMAP funding, and based on that appropriation, the Legislative Budget Commission set the level of funding available for Jackson Memorial Hospital pursuant to Line Item 191 at $35,358,041.00 at its September 14, 2010 meeting.

It is the Senate’s position that Jackson Memorial Hospital has met the conditions set forth by proviso in Line Item 191. Specifically, Jackson Memorial Hospital has submitted:

·         A joint resolution between the Board of Jackson Memorial Public Health Trust and the Miami-Dade County Commission to establish and carry out a management review process for county oversight of the hospital’s financial condition;

·         Evidence of a financial commitment by the county;

·         Documentation of other community support; and

·         Documentation of a comprehensive plan for containing costs and reducing expenditures, including, but not limited to, the use of electronic negotiation and reverse-auction technology to secure best prices for durable medical equipment, supplies, drags and other acquisitions.

In a meeting with Senator Nan Rich, Vice Chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health & Human Services Appropriations, and officials from Jackson Memorial Hospital and the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Assistant Deputy Secretary of Medicaid Finance, Phil Williams, stated unequivocally that Jackson Memorial Hospital had met each of these requirements. Since there have been no contrary statements from the Agency for Health Care Administration to indicate that Jackson Memorial Hospital has not satisfied the proviso conditions, the funds should be allocated.

The 2010-2011 budget passed by the Legislature and signed into law by your predecessor bears the force of law. Failure or refusal by an Executive to effectuate the expenditures authorized by that budget is expressly proscribed by Florida Statute 216.195 as a prohibited impoundment of funds. Moreover, we believe that Florida Statute 216.195, which prohibits the impoundment of funds, requires the Executive to effectuate the expenditure.

Respectfully then, I therefore request that you take immediate action to effect the appropriation to Jackson Memorial Hospital in the amount previously authorized by the Legislative Budget Commission.

Sincerely,

Mike Haridopolos
President of the Senate

[Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 11:26am]

    

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