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Nelson, Castor demand federal intervention into Florida health decision affecting children

Say state has failed to notify all families of options<br>
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor speak to the media at Tampa International Airport in Tampa on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, about their call for federal intervention into the state’s handling of 13,000 children with special needs who, in 2015, were improperly removed from the state’s specialized care program, known as Children’s Medical Services. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor speak to the media at Tampa International Airport in Tampa on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, about their call for federal intervention into the state’s handling of 13,000 children with special needs who, in 2015, were improperly removed from the state’s specialized care program, known as Children’s Medical Services. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
Published Aug. 31, 2017|Updated Aug. 31, 2017

Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Kathy Castor this morning called on the federal government to intervene into a state decision that led to 13,000 special needs children being removed from Children’s Medical Services and put into privately managed Medicaid programs.

“Despite a Florida court’s ruling two years ago that found the state improperly used a new screening tool to declare those kids ineligible, the state has still not yet notified all of the families who were removed from the program to give them a chance to re-enroll,” reads a release for a 10:30 a.m. news conference in Tampa.

The Democrats add that it wasn’t until last month that the state sent letters to 6,000 of the families about a re-enrollment opportunity.

“It remains unclear why the state chose to contact only half of the families affected, what criteria the state used in making the determination of which families to contact, and how many children are actually reenrolled after being revaluated,” the Democrats wrote in a letter Tuesday to federal Health Secretary Tom Price.

But the Florida Department of Health disputed the Democrats’ characterization.

“DOH completed reaching out to all appropriate families in July – weeks before the Senator and Congresswoman wrote their letter. DOH is 100 percent focused on making sure the programs we manage are providing quality care – especially to children. Any assertion that children have been denied care or are not receiving services is absolutely false.”

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