March 9, 2022

Medicaid Managed Care Accountability Bill Passes Senate, Ready for Governor’s Desk

HB 855/SB 1258 would require the state to report data broken down by race, ethnicity, and other demographics - a key strategy to addressing health disparities

ORLANDO, Fla. - The state could soon be required to share how Medicaid managed care plans are serving Floridians across various demographic groups on things like prenatal care, hospital readmissions, child well-care checkups, and numerous other measures.

The Florida Senate today unanimously approved legislation (HB 855/SB 1258) that would add another layer of accountability to Medicaid managed care by requiring the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to report on performance measure data by race, ethnicity, primary language, sex, and disability.

The Florida House of Representatives unanimously passed the legislation on March 7.

In a 2019 report, the nonpartisan Florida Policy Institute (FPI) noted that in recent years, while AHCA has reported significant improvement on managed care plans’ performance measures, it does not tell the whole story — there is no requirement in Florida law that AHCA collect and report this data broken down by race, ethnicity, primary language, sex or disability. Experts agree that collection of this stratified data is an essential first step for developing targeted strategies to eliminate health disparities.

FPI also highlighted that the Medicaid program provides a unique opportunity to address racial and ethnic health disparities.Over 60 percent of Medicaid enrollees are people of color, with most enrolled in managed care plans.

“This data will be invaluable in helping to pinpoint those areas in which health care disparities are most prevalent in Florida and holding Medicaid managed care plans accountable,”  said Sadaf Knight, CEO of FPI. “Having publicly available data on things like hospital readmissions and child well-care check-ups by race, ethnicity, and other demographics should drive policy-making decisions that reduce disparities and improve the health and well-being of every Floridian. We strongly urge Governor DeSantis to sign this legislation.”

“We know that health disparities are a problem in Florida, but without more data from our Medicaid providers, we will never be able to tackle them effectively,” said Sen. Shevrin Jones (D-Miami Gardens), who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “I appreciate the bipartisan and unanimous support for this bill — it shows that all of us care about better understanding and addressing health disparities in Florida, and holding Medicaid providers to high standards for all Floridians, no matter your race, ethnicity, preferred language or disability status.”

“I’m proud to sponsor this common-sense legislation, which will give us some much-needed insight into health and health care disparities in Florida,” said Rep. Robin Bartleman (D-Weston), who sponsored the bill in the House. “Requiring greater transparency around how managed care plans are serving Medicaid recipients across different demographics can help guide decisions we make at the state level to ensure state health dollars are being spent effectively and efficiently.”

FPI is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing state policies and budgets that improve the economic mobility and quality of life for all Floridians.

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