2018 Empower Florida Conference

In partnership with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and Title Sponsor Family Home Health Care of Orlando, Empower Florida hosted over 600 participants at the May 25-26 Training Conference at the Doubletree Orlando SeaWorld. Participants traveled from every region within the state of Florida to participate in this unique opportunity for professional development and training. Event sponsors included Florida Home Health, OUSIA Pharmacy, Therap, 1st Choice Pharmacy, and Serenity Insurance.

One of the notable features of the conference is the Empower Florida Legislative panel. This panel presentation is a highlight of the conference because owners, administrators, and Medicaid waiver providers listen to presentations from national and state legislators and ask questions.

The 2018 legislative panel consisted of Florida Sen. Victor Torres; State Rep. Bobby “O” Olszewski; Margaret Hooper of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council; Olivia Babis candidate for Florida House; Congressional Candidate Dave Shapiro; Gary Hartfield, Empower Florida President and Owner of Serenity Village Insurance & Consulting; and Jeff Smith, Regional Operations Manager (ROM) of the Suncoast Region of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD).

Topics of discussion included the funding needed for quality services and the Legislature’s failure to authorize a significant increase for Medicaid waiver services. The need to educate law enforcement about the unique needs of those with intellectual & developmental disabilities (IDD) were concerns shared by conference attendees as well.

Continuous professional development and training is vitally important to providing quality services to our most vulnerable Florida citizens. To enhance professional development, the 2018 Empower Florida Conference provided over 40 different training sessions that enabled providers to earn a maximum of 10 in-service credit hours. The Empower Florida training conference is uniquely designed and is the only collaborative statewide training conference that focuses on comprehensive professional development that enables Medicaid waiver providers to receive training from regulatory agencies and subject matter experts who serve the IDD community.

Gary Hartfield, Empower Florida Founder, shared his vision for the organization during lunch with conference attendees. Hartfield says that, “I was encouraged by providers and regulatory agencies to establish Empower Florida because of the need to provide vital information and training to the provider community.” He says, “the feedback that we have received from providers has been amazing and their continued support motivates us to grow the benefits and services of this association.” 

Jeannette Estes, APD Central Region ROM says, “I was honored to host the 2018 Empower Florida Conference in Orlando, and we are excited to have the opportunity to support the 2019 Empower Florida Conference in Orlando next year.”

For more information, visit http://empower-florida.com/.

Standing from left to right: Jeffrey Smith, Regional Operations Manager (ROM) - Suncoast Region, Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD); David Shapiro, Candidate, U.S. House, FL - 16; Eisel Ibarra, Staff Assistant, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson; Valerie Goddard, Vice Chairman, Empower Florida, Inc.; Michael Taylor, Deputy ROM - Suncoast Region, APD; Gary Hartfield, Chairman, Empower Florida, Inc.; Robert Olszewski, Florida State Representative, District 44; Aaron Nangle, CEO, WaiverProvider.com; Fino Randazzo, CEO, Florida Home Health; Victor Torres, Florida State Senator, District 15; Michelle Tolini, Vice Chairman, Empower Florida, Inc.
Seated from left to right: Olivia Babbas, Candidate, Florida State Senate, District 23; Barbara Braun, Secretary, Empower Florida, Inc.; Jeanette Estes, Acting ROM - Central Region, APD; Semira Hoffman, Board Member, Empower Florida, Inc.; Margaret Hooper, Public Policy Coordinator, Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc. (FDDC)