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Medicaid Waiver Waitlist and Priority Scores (Florida)

Medicaid Planning
Jason Neufeld
November 12, 2019

Those who live at home or in the community but seek Florida Medicaid Managed Long-Term-Care coverage for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). 

The Florida Administrative Code Rules and Florida Statues explains how people who apply to the Florida Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term-Care Waiver Program are prioritized and enrolled. 

Applicants are given a priority rank, based on their assigned priority score, which signifies the assessed need for long-term care services and determines placement on the HCBS wait list (maintained by the Department of Elder Affairs). The priority score is provided by the Department of Elder Affairs’ screening, which is conducted per FAC Rule: 58A-1.010. Priority is determined by Florida Statutes, 409.979, per the priority score calculation methodology by DOEA.

The higher the score, the more frail the Florida Medicaid Waiver applicant is deemed to be, which results in a higher priority placement on the Medicaid Waiver waitlist.

Once DOEA has completed their screening, they will provide the applicant (or their authorized representative) notification of the Medicaid
applicant’s priority rank, where this places them on the waiting list, how to get in touch with a local ADRC, how to request a fair hearing if they feel an error has occurred, how to request a copy of their screening/priority score, and instructions for how to request a re-screening should there be a significant change (i.e. deterioration) in their condition.

Medicaid Long-Term Care Waiver Program Priority Score Ranks

When CARES conducts it assessment, they asks the following questions: 

CARES Caregiver Medicaid Waiver Screening Questions

Is there a primary caregiver? If not, who does the applicant live with? (living alone assigns higher priority points). 

If there is a primary caregiver, how is the caregiver’s health in relation to their ability to provide care to the applicant? How confident is the caregiver in their ability to continue to provide care in the future? 

CARES Medicaid Applicant Questions

Overall health? How is their health compared to a year ago? What physical problems prevent Medicaid applicant from doing things that they would otherwise do? Can applicant get medical care when it is necessary? Are there financial limitations in obtaining necessary medical care? 

Does Medicaid applicant have any problems with activities of daily living - ADLs (i.e. bathe, dress, eat, use bathroom, transfer, how much assistance needed to walk)?

Does the Medicaid applicant need assistance with what CARES refers to as “instrumental activities of daily living”: to handle heavy chores,
light housekeeping, using the telephone, managing their money, preparing meals, shopping, managing their medications, and do they have access to transportation? 

Each series of medicaid waitlist screening questions has a point scale associated with the answer. The points are added up to assign a priority rank: 

  • Rank 1 = Score 1-15
  • Rank 2 = Score 16-29
  • Rank 3 = Score 30-39
  • Rank 4 = Score 40-45
  • Rank 5 = >46
  • Rank 6 = (when a minor is aging out, but still needs
  • Rank 7 = Imminent Risk (when an applicant in community is unable to care for themselves, has no access to a capable caregiver, AND they are likely to require nursing home care in the next 1-3 months). See Medicaid Attorney Resources section below for link to the actual questions and point value. 

Nursing home residents who have been in a Florida-licensed nursing facility at least 60 consecutive days are exempt from screening.

Once a Medicaid applicant has been released from the waiver wait-list, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) will enroll them
into a long-term care managed care program in their area.

Medicaid Managed Care and Long Term Care Managed Care Program

Florida Statues, Chapter 409, Part IV (409.961 – 409.985) governs the Medicaid Managed Care and Medicaid Long Term Care Managed Care Program.

409.963. Agency for Health Care Administration is the state agency authorized to manage,operate and make payments for medical assistance for services related to TitleXIX (Medicaid).

409.965. All Medicaid recipients (subject to several exceptions) must receive their Medicaid services through a managed care program.

409.966(2). Sets forth the Medicaid regions. (J) Region 10 is Broward County. (K) Region 11 is Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.

Most of Part IV sets forth the requirements for plans, what accreditation they must have, what minimum standards they must meet, etc…

409.969. Sets forth when Medicaid recipients must enroll in a managed care plan (30 days,followed by 90 days in which to dis-enroll and find another plan, after 90 days,“good cause” must be shown to switch plans).

409.973. Sets forth minimum benefits that managed care plans must offer.

409.978. Long-Term Care Managed Care Program.

409.979. Eligibility:65 years old+ or 18 years old with disability. Must go through Comprehensive Assessment Review and Evaluation for Long-Term Care Services (CARES) screening program to determine that nursing facility care is required (see 409.985(3)).Subject to the availability of funds, the Department of Elderly Affairs (DOEA) makes offers for enrollment subject to wait-list prioritization.

The DOEA maintains the statewide list for enrollment for Home and Community Based Medicaid services through the LTC-MCP (long term care managed care program).

DOEA authorizes aging resource centers to screen individuals requesting HCBS through the LTC program.

409.98. Long TermCare Plan Minimum Benefits. Nursing facility care, some ALF services,hospice, adult day care, medical equipment, supplies, incontinence supplies,personal care, home accessibility adaptation, behavioral management,home-delivered meals, case management, OT, PT, ST, RT, intermittent nursing,skilled nursing, medication management, nutritional assessment, caregiver training, respite care, transportation, personal emergency response system. Click her for a more in-depth discussion on What does Florida Medicaid Waiver Cover? 

409.983(4). CARES assigns the Medicaid recipient one of the following levels of care:

  • Level 1: must be placed in nursing home       
  • Level 2: imminent risk of nursing home placement(need for constant availability of routine medical and nursing treatment and who require extensive health-related care and services because of mental or physical incapacity.
  • Level 3: imminent risk of nursing home placement(need for constant availability of routine medical and nursing treatment and who have a limited need for health-related care and are mildly mentally orphysically incapacitated.

409.985. CARES Program. CARES determines if individuals requires nursing facility care andif so assigns the level of care described in 409.983(4) above.

409.985(3)(a)-(c):“Nursing facility care” is defined.

Medicaid Waiver Lawyer Resources

Rule 59G-4.193 - How Florida Waiver / managed care priority works

Rule: 58A-1.010– Program Forms

Florida Statutes, 409.962,409.979

Dadeand Broward - Aging and Disability Resource Centers


Jason Neufeld
Jason is committed to assisting and protecting the most vulnerable members of society, through his substantial legal work with the elderly.