Florida special needs children may see Medicaid changes, records show

ORLANDO, Fla. — Changes could be on the way for thousands of children with special needs who rely on Medicaid for therapy.

A state letter has been sent parents whose children have autism, Down syndrome and other conditions, letting them know their therapy plans could soon be under review.

When Marytza Susi read the letter addressing possible changes to the therapy her son has received for years, one line stood out: “Do not worry.”


“Any parent would worry,” Susi said. “It's your kids life in Medicaid’s hands and the government’s hands.”

Santiago and Friends Family Center for Autism is named after Susi's son. Her family runs it and they're trying to help other parents understand what's about to happen.

According to the letter from the Agency for Healthcare Administration "service coordinators" from the state will be meeting with parents to learn more about their child. Care plan assessments could follow.

Starting in July, teams will begin reviewing each child's treatment plan, which is raising concerns with parents.

“You're bringing individuals together that may not know this child,” said Marucci Guzman, with the Santiago and Friends Family Center for Autism. “They may not know the family history or what this family needs to thrive.”

The letter said parents are welcomed to attend the meetings and they can bring their child's doctor along. Providers said that's not realistic.

“Our neurologist has an eight-month waiting list to see new clients. As much as he loves our kids, there's no way,” Guzman said. “They don't have the capacity or manpower at their own businesses to be able to take that time off.”

For now, parents can only wait for more direction and hope whatever happens doesn't cause disruptions.

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