Florida in 2015 used what medical experts widely call questionable tactics when determining how to switch children out of the Childrens Medical Services (CMS) program, which is part of Florida’s Medicaid.
The state’s health department that year moved some 13,000 children off the highly-respected program. CMS cases included children suffering from birth defects, heart disease, diabetes and blindness.
According to a CNN report, the other plans “don’t specialize in caring for very sick children.”
“CMS is well-known and well-respected,” Harvard Medical School Pediatrics Professor Dr. James Perrin said. “It’s one of the earlier programs to build in assurances that these kids get the kind of care they need.”
Florida’s health department conducted a telephone survey in 2015 in which nurses asked parents the following question: “Is your child limited or prevented in any way in his or her ability to do the things most children of the same age can do?”
National Center for Health Statistics Associate Director for Science Stephen Blumberg said the question is invalid.
“You would get false negatives,” he said. “Your conclusion would be that a child does not have special health care needs when, in fact, the child does.”
The screening led to widespread outcry from physicians across the state. Former American Academy of Pediatrics executive Dr. Louis Petery said the screening process was a ploy by politicians to “repay” big party donors.
“This was a way for the politicians to repay the entities that had contributed to their political campaigns and their political success, and it’s the children who suffered,” Petery said.