Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairman Rene Garcia

Senate Panel Wants Answers From DOH On Children's Health Programs

Oct 8, 2015

A Florida Senate panel on Wednesday demanded answers from a state Department of Health official about how many special-needs children have recently lost services as the state transitions to a new Medicaid system --- and why.

Lawmakers Look To Revamp Mental-Health Services

Apr 1, 2015

Legislation aimed at revamping Florida's system of delivering mental-health services is moving in the House and Senate and is gaining momentum.

The House version (HB 7119), which would hold providers to a new set of performance measures and open the bidding on state contracts to for-profit firms, was unanimously approved Tuesday by the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.

In the Senate, a comparable measure (SB 7068) will get its second hearing Thursday in the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee.

Critics Warn Cuts Will Harm Services to Toddlers

Feb 24, 2015

  Blaming a budget shortfall, the Florida Department of Health has laid off most of the administrators at the Early Steps program, which serves babies and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays.

The department said the cuts won't affect services to families. But critics of the move say it will leave the program --- which gets the majority of its funding from the federal government --- unable to meet requirements that keep the money flowing.

The workers received letters of termination Thursday, advising that their last day would be March 2.