Sunshine State of Turmoil…

Good morning, ProviderNation.

Florida is looking for a few good ombudsmen. Two weeks ago, reigning ombudsman Jim Crochet tendered his resignation amid an investigation by the state’s Department of Elder Affairs. Yesterday, Crochet’s top deputy, Don Hering, up and quit, too.

The sudden vacuum has set off a little politics, too. Writes Margie Menzel from Tallahassee: “Hering’s resignation comes as advocates for the elderly are calling for more leadership from the ombudsman program, saying Florida’s switch to a statewide Medicaid managed-care system makes oversight all the more crucial.

“On Aug. 1, about 9,300 central Florida residents who need long-term care — the vast majority of them seniors — became the first participants in a statewide move to enroll almost all Medicaid beneficiaries in HMOs and other types of managed-care plans.”

Manzel quotes the chair of the state Senate’s Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, who says that whoever the next watchdog is, he or she should have “no ties to the industry.”

Stay tuned…

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