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Pilot Program will Expand Medicaid to the Chronically Homeless in Central Florida Starting in July

Florida is one of fourteen states that hasn't expanded Medicaid. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
Florida is one of fourteen states that hasn't expanded Medicaid. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

The more than $750,000 expansion to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services services for chronically homeless people in the state will take effect in July. 

Central Florida Commission on Homelessness Director Shelley Lauten says local providers will be able to use these additional funds to help homeless families and individuals find and stay in housing. 

“You have to make sure you’re getting to your doctors. You’re seeing a primary care provider and not going to an emergency room. Those kinds of costs associated with keeping someone in their homes would be the kind of things a grant like this could help us continue to fund.”

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Martha Are works closely with Lauten as the director of the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida says providers will also be able to use housing for mental health support services.

"The original language included some intensive on-site intervention. Along with a mobile crisis opportunity. That would be behavioral health professionals able to work with individuals wherever they were when the crisis occurs. And that's a 24-7 mobile crisis opportunity."

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Both Lauten and Are say if the program is successful it could lead to a broader expansion of Medicaid in the state.

Florida is one of only 14 states that hasn't expanded the federally funded health insurance program.

The pilot program will serve about 300 people in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Brevard Counties.
If you'd like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above. 

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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