Florida Qualitative Report
The following report presents twenty-four case stories about the experience of adults and children with disabilities who receive the cash option in the Consumer Directed Care Program in the state of Florida. The report focuses on how “care units,” composed of consumers and/or representatives, paid workers, and consultants interacted around issues of consumer-directed care. The study addresses several broad research questions: (1) has the Consumer Directed Care program made a difference in the lives of consumers, representatives, and workers, and if so, how; (2) how does participation in the Consumer Directed Care program compare with previous arrangements; (3) how are services provided; and (4) how does the program work? Two University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) researchers conducted a total of fifty-eight interviews on one trip to Florida during July and August of 2002. After consultation with the Cash and Counseling Demonstration and Evaluation (CCDE) management team, twenty-four care units were selected. All the consumers interviewed had been enrolled in Florida’s Consumer Directed Care program for at least six months at the time of the interview and received at least six hundred dollars per month in the cash option. Care unit members were interviewed in face-to-face, hour long interviews which were tape-recorded for later transcription. The stories in the report were written based on the transcripts and incorporate the perspectives of all three members of the care unit; consumer, caregiver, and consultant. All stories were written with an eye to allowing participants to speak for themselves. Major themes in the stories are discussed at the end of the report.
The following report presents twenty-four stories about what it is like as an adult or a child with a disability to participate in the Consumer Directed Care program (for a detailed discussion of the Cash and Counseling Demonstration and Evaluation of which Florida’s Consumer Directed Care program is a part, see Appendix A). Researchers from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) traveled to Florida to interview participants about the program and how it worked for them. In their own words we learn what it is like to arrange and pay for your own care with or without a representative’s help, how participants direct and pay their caregivers, and how participants negotiate the program itself. The twenty-four stories presented here also yield common themes and concerns which help us understand how the Florida Consumer Directed Care program works and the meaning it has for participants.