MILTON — The Jan. 6 deadline for attorneys to present viable solutions for the Arc of Santa Rosa's $315,000 debt to the state Medicaid agency has passed.
Attorneys did not reach a compromise so Arc attorneys will have to try to sell the building, according to Arc Santa Rosa attorney Frank Rainer.
However, Rainer said the Arc of Santa Rosa building's location, 6225 Dixie Road in Milton, is in a difficult-to-sell area, so Arc programs might continue until the building sells.
The nonprofit Arc, operated by Arc of the Emerald Coast, provides day activities, education and workforce-entry programs to individuals with developmental disabilities who can no longer attend school.
The Arc of the Emerald Coast, based in Fort Walton Beach, took over the Santa Rosa location in May 2015. That was when the parent organization, the Arc of Florida, discovered that "the local Arc chapter in Santa Rosa County did not properly document services, comply with staff training guidelines and, in fact, two staff persons were not background-screened in a timely manner," a letter from Arc of Florida Chief Executive Officer Deborah Linton to Gov. Rick Scott states.
"These services are provided through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services waiver. As a result, the Medicaid program imposed financial penalties and sought to recover payments made for services which were, in fact, provided but lacking proper paperwork. The aggregate amount of the payback and penalties were well beyond the organization's ability to pay."
So, now what?
“We're not disputing (the state) has a right. We're trying to do the right thing … We're trying to be good citizens,” Rainer said.
Rainer said operating with this potential to close at any time creates anxiety for family members depending on the Arc’s programs and the Arc’s employees.
Rainer will list the building for $290,000, he said. In the meantime, the Arc of Santa Rosa is gathering its vehicles on the property to sell, Rainer said.
“Two (employees) use vehicles for going back and forth to work and those are individuals with developmental disabilities … If we turn over those vehicles … we don't know how they’ll get to work … I’m very discouraged” Linton said.
Family members have asked Linton what they can do; she said they’ve discussed fundraising.
“Once it's sold, services will discontinue … We'll see how long it takes,” Rainer said.