Florida's budget challenges continue to be the primary focus of legislators as we prepare to head into the 2009 regular session next week. Last week Governor Charlie Crist released the Governor’s Recommended Budget, which is normally transmitted a month before the session is scheduled to begin. An extension was requested by the Governor’s Office, and granted by House and Senate Leadership, to allow for inclusion of money designated for Florida by the federal stimulus package, which was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. Florida TaxWatch has released a new analysis of the Governor’s Recommended Budget, which can be found online.
As we prepare for the start of the 2009 regular session, FHCA will continue communicating with legislators about the importance of preserving Medicaid funding to support the 2.9 CNA hours of per patient care. We believe that the increased staffing standards that were mandated in 2001, and the accompanying funding, have greatly improved care for Florida's frail elders and citizens with disabilities in our nursing homes. By preserving the funding, facilities will have the resources they need to do their critically important work, quality care for residents will continue to improve, facilities can make much-needed renovations and our state can meet the growing demands that aging baby boomers will have on long term care through a strengthened health care workforce.