TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today announced details about federal stimulus funding coming to Florida as a result of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. While addressing the Florida Hospital Association’s annual Hospital Day in the Legislature, Governor Crist confirmed the federal share of Florida’s Medicaid costs will increase from 55.4 percent to 67.6 percent, infusing more than $817 million into Florida’s economy.
“Especially during challenging economic times, we must ensure that Florida’s most vulnerable and persons with disabilities receive the care they need, and these additional Medicaid dollars will enable us to continue serving those in need,” Governor Crist said. “I urge the Legislature to quickly take the action necessary to ensure these dollars come to Florida as soon as possible.”
Don Winstead, Special Advisor to the Governor for the Implementation of the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, joined Governor Crist for the announcment. The federal Medicaid funding, known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), will provide a significant infusion of federal funds to Florida.
To receive the funding, appropriate budget authority must be approved by the Florida Legislature. In anticipation of that approval, Governor Crist announced that Florida’s Medicaid Program will submit two amended technical reports to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 10. One report will trigger the availability of $453.1 million in additional federal funds for the current quarter of January through March. The second report will trigger the availability of $363.1 million in additional federal funding for the completed quarter of October through December 2008.
The first federal stimulus dollars to come to Florida came in the form of increased weekly benefits to Floridians receiving unemployment compensation. On February 20, 2009, Governor Crist signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to increase weekly benefits $25 per week, bringing $345 million to Florida during 2009. The Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation is currently processing the payouts, and payments will begin by the end of March, including a lump sum retroactive to February 22. Throughout 2009, Floridians who qualify for unemployment compensation will receive the extra $25 per week in a check separate from their regular unemployment compensation.