Baez was initially suspended and later fired from the home.
The arrest was the second of a Mapleway Communities employee for sexually molesting vulnerable residents under their care: another man, Richard Langford, was charged and convicted of sexual battery in 2005 after he enticed a disabled woman into allowing him in her room by offering her colored markers, then forced himself on her.
On Monday, AHCA took one of the strongest steps available to it short of yanking the homes license to operate.
Under Florida law, the state may terminate a Medicaid providers agreement with the state for any reason. Without the agreement, health care providers cannot bill the insurance program for services, and many practitioners find they can no longer remain in business.
Under the circumstances, with no ability to bill Medicaid, you would think they would not be able to have the finances to provide services, said Michael Messer, who heads the Association for Retarded Citizens of South Florida, a program for children and adults with disabilities. They should not be allowed to continue to operate, period.
Without a Medicaid agreement, Mapleway could continue to house clients who either can pay out-of-pocket or through private insurance, though few ALF residents with such disabilities are capable of paying privately, Messer said. Why the state doesnt just yank their license, or put pressure on them to go out of business or find someone else to operate the facility, I dont understand, he said.
Shelisha Durden, another AHCA spokeswoman, said she could not answer questions from a reporter late Wednesday, among them how many Mapleway residents might be affected by the action, and why AHCA did not act against the homes license to operate.
Meanwhile, a separate state department, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, is already seeking new homes for 10 agency clients who live in the ALFs six in Hillandale and four in Mapleway, said Jeff Saulich, an APD spokesman in Tallahassee.
Specialized social workers, called support coordinators, have begun the process of counseling our clients and researching other residential options for them, Saulich said.
Deborah Linton, an advocate for disabled people who heads the ARC of Florida, praised heath care administrators Wednesday for taking action against the ALF chain, which had drawn the ire of state disability administrators and advocates for several years.
Im so happy this chapter is closing, Linton said. But our main concern is there are others who need to be protected. We all need to be vigilant so that some of the states most vulnerable citizens are protected.