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Health News Florida
Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

A look at the health care initiatives in DeSantis' $99.7 billion budget proposal

 Gov. Ron DeSantis rolled out a $99.7 billion budget recommendation for the coming year on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.. He calls the proposal the “Freedom First Budget,” attributing the state’s financial health to his opposition to coronavirus lockdowns and mandates.
News Service of Florida
Gov. Ron DeSantis rolled out a $99.7 billion budget recommendation for the coming year on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021.. He calls the proposal the “Freedom First Budget,” attributing the state’s financial health to his opposition to coronavirus lockdowns and mandates.

Health care-related measures in the proposal are targeted to combat the opioid epidemic, boost mental health programs and assist the elderly, veterans and people with disabilities.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday rolled out a $99.7 billion budget recommendation for the coming year. He calls the plan the “Freedom First Budget,” attributing the state’s financial health to his opposition to coronavirus lockdowns and mandates.

The budget offers a variety of proposals targeting needs in the health care sector, including a $226.5 million increase for Medicaid payment rates for health and human services providers such as nursing homes as a way to address staffing problems.

RELATED: DeSantis pitches a $99.7 billion budget with emphasis on environment, education

Other health care-related measures are intended to combat the opioid epidemic, boost mental health programs and assist the elderly, veterans and people with disabilities.

Here are some health highlights from the budget.

Opioids: More than $82 million to help with evidence-based prevention services, medication-assisted treatment and recovery services, and drug overdose surveillance.

Behavioral health: $188.6 million for community-based services, forensic bed capacity and operations of the state mental health treatment facilities as well as treatments to reduce overdoses, suicides, unemployment and to break the cycle of hospitalization and homelessness.

Seniors: An additional $10 million for over 1,000 seniors to programs that support activities of daily living, medical assistance and caregiver support to keep seniors in their homes. Also, a $10 million

Veterans: $63.4 million to support equipment updates, capital improvements, medical costs for nursing home residents and the remaining staffing needs for the Copas and Lake Baldwin State Veterans’ Nursing Homes. Also, $350,000 for a veterans’ suicide prevention program.

People with disabilities: $25.5 million to allow an additional 480 people in crisis to be served through the Agency for Persons with Disabilities waiver program and $1 million for supported employment to assist about 650 people with intellectual disabilities achieve employment or internships.

Child welfare: $133.9 million to provide operational support and community-based services, foster parent support and modernization of the Florida Safe Families Network system. Also, $11.2 million for maintenance adoption subsidies and adoption benefits for state employees to support adoptions of children from foster care and $8.9 million for an increase of up to $300 per month to the foster parents’ child care subsidy to help cover the cost of early education and child care.

Cancer: $100 million for cancer care and research, an increase of $37 million from the current year.

The proposal, which comes as DeSantis runs for a second term in November, will be a starting point for lawmakers as they negotiate a spending plan during the legislative session that will start Jan. 11.

The proposal doesn't have to be approved by the Legislature, but Republicans control the House and Senate and have previously worked closely with the governor to meet his budget priorities.

Information from the Associated Press and News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Copyright 2021 Health News Florida

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