Will Rick Scott’s Medicaid Privatization Dump Granny?

Lawmakers in Florida are touring the Sunshine State promoting a new law that, if approved by the federal government, would require “most of the state’s 3 million Medicaid enrollees to join private health plans after July 1, 2012.” The proposal “gives managed care companies more control over the program that’s paid for with federal and state money,” a shift the state GOP claims will “hold down spiraling costs in the $20 billion program.”

During yesterday’s town hall meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida lawyers argued that the initiative would encourage private nursing homes to dump granny:

A little-known incentive buried in Florida’s new Medicaid reform law will reward health plans for cutting numbers of seniors in nursing homes, several speakers said during a highly charged hearing on the law Tuesday.

Calling it the “granny dumping bonus,” elder law attorney Ellen Morris warned that the law could result in eviction of seniors from nursing home care after 2012. ….

“Florida is poised to put thousands of long term care patients out into the cold without services,” she predicted. “There is no verifiable system to ensure that vulnerable elders are not evicted inappropriately.” […]

Morris said the new law does away with longstanding, effective rules on who has recovered enough to be discharged from a nursing home, and replaces them with vague terms insurance companies will ultimately decide.

“Managed care companies will be paid bonuses for evicting seniors from nursing homes,” she predicted.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has also come under criticism since signing the law after it was revealed that one of the private managed-care companies that stand to gain from the measure is Solantic, “a chain of urgent-care clinics aimed at providing emergency services to walk-in customers. Solantic was founded in 2001 — by none other than Rick Scott.

Before being elected to the governorship, Scott was fired as head of Columbia/HCA just as the for-profit hospital chain pled guilty to a massive array of fraud charges — which resulted in a fraud settlement of $1.7 billion dollars, the largest in U.S history.