(1) The department, in consultation with the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Children and Family Services, shall develop pilot projects for aging resource centers. By October 31, 2004, the department, in consultation with the agency and the Department of Children and Family Services, shall develop an implementation plan for aging resource centers and submit the plan to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The plan must include qualifications for designation as a center, the functions to be performed by each center, and a process for determining that a current area agency on aging is ready to assume the functions of an aging resource center.
(2) Each area agency on aging shall develop, in consultation with the existing community care for the elderly lead agencies within their planning and service areas, a proposal that describes the process the area agency on aging intends to undertake to transition to an aging resource center prior to July 1, 2005, and that describes the area agency’s compliance with the requirements of this section. The proposals must be submitted to the department prior to December 31, 2004. The department shall evaluate all proposals for readiness and, prior to March 1, 2005, shall select three area agencies on aging which meet the requirements of this section to begin the transition to aging resource centers. Those area agencies on aging which are not selected to begin the transition to aging resource centers shall, in consultation with the department and the existing community care for the elderly lead agencies within their planning and service areas, amend their proposals as necessary and resubmit them to the department prior to July 1, 2005. The department may transition additional area agencies to aging resource centers as it determines that area agencies are in compliance with the requirements of this section.
(3) The Auditor General and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) shall jointly review and assess the department’s process for determining an area agency’s readiness to transition to an aging resource center.
(a) The review must, at a minimum, address the appropriateness of the department’s criteria for selection of an area agency to transition to an aging resource center, the instruments applied, the degree to which the department accurately determined each area agency’s compliance with the readiness criteria, the quality of the technical assistance provided by the department to an area agency in correcting any weaknesses identified in the readiness assessment, and the degree to which each area agency overcame any identified weaknesses.
(b) Reports of these reviews must be submitted to the appropriate substantive and appropriations committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives on March 1 and September 1 of each year until full transition to aging resource centers has been accomplished statewide, except that the first report must be submitted by February 1, 2005, and must address all readiness activities undertaken through December 31, 2004. The perspectives of all participants in this review process must be included in each report.
(4) The purposes of an aging resource center shall be:
(a) To provide Florida’s elders and their families with a locally focused, coordinated approach to integrating information and referral for all available services for elders with the eligibility determination entities for state and federally funded long-term-care services.
(b) To provide for easier access to long-term-care services by Florida’s elders and their families by creating multiple access points to the long-term-care network that flow through one established entity with wide community recognition.
(5) The duties of an aging resource center are to:
(a) Develop referral agreements with local community service organizations, such as senior centers, existing elder service providers, volunteer associations, and other similar organizations, to better assist clients who do not need or do not wish to enroll in programs funded by the department or the agency. The referral agreements must also include a protocol, developed and approved by the department, which provides specific actions that an aging resource center and local community service organizations must take when an elder or an elder’s representative seeking information on long-term-care services contacts a local community service organization prior to contacting the aging resource center. The protocol shall be designed to ensure that elders and their families are able to access information and services in the most efficient and least cumbersome manner possible.
(b) Provide an initial screening of all clients who request long-term-care services to determine whether the person would be most appropriately served through any combination of federally funded programs, state-funded programs, locally funded or community volunteer programs, or private funding for services.
(c) Determine eligibility for the programs and services listed in subsection (11) for persons residing within the geographic area served by the aging resource center and determine a priority ranking for services which is based upon the potential recipient’s frailty level and likelihood of institutional placement without such services.
(d) Manage the availability of financial resources for the programs and services listed in subsection (11) for persons residing within the geographic area served by the aging resource center.
(e) When financial resources become available, refer a client to the most appropriate entity to begin receiving services. The aging resource center shall make referrals to lead agencies for service provision that ensure that individuals who are vulnerable adults in need of services pursuant to s. 415.104(3)(b), or who are victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in need of immediate services to prevent further harm and are referred by the adult protective services program, are given primary consideration for receiving community-care-for-the-elderly services in compliance with the requirements of s. 430.205(5)(a) and that other referrals for services are in compliance with s. 430.205(5)(b).
(f) Convene a work group to advise in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the aging resource center. The work group shall be comprised of representatives of local service providers, Alzheimer’s Association chapters, housing authorities, social service organizations, advocacy groups, representatives of clients receiving services through the aging resource center, and any other persons or groups as determined by the department. The aging resource center, in consultation with the work group, must develop annual program improvement plans that shall be submitted to the department for consideration. The department shall review each annual improvement plan and make recommendations on how to implement the components of the plan.
(g) Enhance the existing area agency on aging in each planning and service area by integrating, either physically or virtually, the staff and services of the area agency on aging with the staff of the department’s local CARES Medicaid nursing home preadmission screening unit and a sufficient number of staff from the Department of Children and Family Services’ Economic Self-Sufficiency Unit necessary to determine the financial eligibility for all persons age 60 and older residing within the area served by the aging resource center that are seeking Medicaid services, Supplemental Security Income, and food assistance.
(6) The department shall select the entities to become aging resource centers based on each entity’s readiness and ability to perform the duties listed in subsection (5) and the entity’s:
(a) Expertise in the needs of each target population the center proposes to serve and a thorough knowledge of the providers that serve these populations.
(b) Strong connections to service providers, volunteer agencies, and community institutions.
(c) Expertise in information and referral activities.
(d) Knowledge of long-term-care resources, including resources designed to provide services in the least restrictive setting.
(e) Financial solvency and stability.
(f) Ability to collect, monitor, and analyze data in a timely and accurate manner, along with systems that meet the department’s standards.
(g) Commitment to adequate staffing by qualified personnel to effectively perform all functions.
(h) Ability to meet all performance standards established by the department.
(7) The aging resource center shall have a governing body which shall be the same entity described in s. 20.41(7), and an executive director who may be the same person as described in s. 20.41(7). The governing body shall annually evaluate the performance of the executive director.
(8) The aging resource center may not be a provider of direct services other than information and referral services and screening.
(9) The aging resource center must agree to allow the department to review any financial information the department determines is necessary for monitoring or reporting purposes, including financial relationships.
(10) The duties and responsibilities of the community care for the elderly lead agencies within each area served by an aging resource center shall be to:
(a) Develop strong community partnerships to maximize the use of community resources for the purpose of assisting elders to remain in their community settings for as long as it is safely possible.
(b) Conduct comprehensive assessments of clients that have been determined eligible and develop a care plan consistent with established protocols that ensures that the unique needs of each client are met.
(11) The services to be administered through the aging resource center shall include those funded by the following programs:
(a) Community care for the elderly.
(b) Home care for the elderly.
(c) Contracted services.
(d) Alzheimer’s disease initiative.
(e) Aged and disabled adult Medicaid waiver.
(f) Assisted living for the frail elderly Medicaid waiver.
(g) Older Americans Act.
(12) The department shall, prior to designation of an aging resource center, develop by rule operational and quality assurance standards and outcome measures to ensure that clients receiving services through all long-term-care programs administered through an aging resource center are receiving the appropriate care they require and that contractors and subcontractors are adhering to the terms of their contracts and are acting in the best interests of the clients they are serving, consistent with the intent of the Legislature to reduce the use of and cost of nursing home care. The department shall by rule provide operating procedures for aging resource centers, which shall include:
(a) Minimum standards for financial operation, including audit procedures.
(b) Procedures for monitoring and sanctioning of service providers.
(c) Minimum standards for technology utilized by the aging resource center.
(d) Minimum staff requirements which shall ensure that the aging resource center employs sufficient quality and quantity of staff to adequately meet the needs of the elders residing within the area served by the aging resource center.
(e) Minimum accessibility standards, including hours of operation.
(f) Minimum oversight standards for the governing body of the aging resource center to ensure its continuous involvement in, and accountability for, all matters related to the development, implementation, staffing, administration, and operations of the aging resource center.
(g) Minimum education and experience requirements for executive directors and other executive staff positions of aging resource centers.
(h) Minimum requirements regarding any executive staff positions that the aging resource center must employ and minimum requirements that a candidate must meet in order to be eligible for appointment to such positions.
(13) In an area in which the department has designated an area agency on aging as an aging resource center, the department and the agency shall not make payments for the services listed in subsection (11) and the Long-Term Care Community Diversion Project for such persons who were not screened and enrolled through the aging resource center.
(14) Each aging resource center shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the department for collaboration with the CARES unit staff. The memorandum of understanding shall outline the staff person responsible for each function and shall provide the staffing levels necessary to carry out the functions of the aging resource center.
(15) Each aging resource center shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Children and Family Services for collaboration with the Economic Self-Sufficiency Unit staff. The memorandum of understanding shall outline which staff persons are responsible for which functions and shall provide the staffing levels necessary to carry out the functions of the aging resource center.
(16) If any of the state activities described in this section are outsourced, either in part or in whole, the contract executing the outsourcing shall mandate that the contractor or its subcontractors shall, either physically or virtually, execute the provisions of the memorandum of understanding instead of the state entity whose function the contractor or subcontractor now performs.
(17) In order to be eligible to begin transitioning to an aging resource center, an area agency on aging board must ensure that the area agency on aging which it oversees meets all of the minimum requirements set by law and in rule.
(18) The department shall monitor the three initial projects for aging resource centers and report on the progress of those projects to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by June 30, 2005. The report must include an evaluation of the implementation process.
(19)(a) Once an aging resource center is operational, the department, in consultation with the agency, may develop capitation rates for any of the programs administered through the aging resource center. Capitation rates for programs shall be based on the historical cost experience of the state in providing those same services to the population age 60 or older residing within each area served by an aging resource center. Each capitated rate may vary by geographic area as determined by the department.
(b) The department and the agency may determine for each area served by an aging resource center whether it is appropriate, consistent with federal and state laws and regulations, to develop and pay separate capitated rates for each program administered through the aging resource center or to develop and pay capitated rates for service packages which include more than one program or service administered through the aging resource center.
(c) Once capitation rates have been developed and certified as actuarially sound, the department and the agency may pay service providers the capitated rates for services when appropriate.
(d) The department, in consultation with the agency, shall annually reevaluate and recertify the capitation rates, adjusting forward to account for inflation, programmatic changes.
(20) The department, in consultation with the agency, shall submit to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, by December 1, 2006, a report addressing the feasibility of administering the following services through aging resource centers beginning July 1, 2007:
(a) Medicaid nursing home services.
(b) Medicaid transportation services.
(c) Medicaid hospice care services.
(d) Medicaid intermediate care services.
(e) Medicaid prescribed drug services.
(f) Medicaid assistive care services.
(g) Any other long-term-care program or Medicaid service.
(21) This section shall not be construed to allow an aging resource center to restrict, manage, or impede the local fundraising activities of service providers.