Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday's Hot News

Well, it is Wednesday again. After a busy Tuesday preparing material for our largest group in town for Lobby Wednesday so far, FHCA staff kicked off the activities with a Lobby Tuesday briefing for nearly 70 members from Cypress Health Care Management and Gulf Coast Health Care. On Wednesday, representatives from FHCA's District 12 in Pensacola and District 13 in Ft. Pierce, as well as Good Samaritan Society, also took part in legislative visits at the Capitol. All total nearly 150 nursing home owners, administrators, nursing staff, social workers and other caregivers took part in the day's activities. Wherever I went throughout the Capitol today, I saw FHCA members. Many of them thanked me for the great orientation provided by FHCA staff, stating how comfortable they felt visiting their legislators. So as you can see, anyone can do it!

On the calendar for today was SB 1562, sponsored by Senator Bennett, which reduces many duplicative regulatory activities. Time ran out before that bill or SB 2286, which is the Agency for Health Care Administration's deregulation bill sponsored by Senator Gardiner, could be heard. We can only hope they are on the agenda for March 25th.

On the House side today, the House Health Care Regulation Committee passed HB 651, sponsored by Representative Matt Hudson, which is the companion AHCA deregulation bill. FHCA supports this bill which eliminates unnecessary paperwork and gives nursing home staff more time to focus on resident care. I testified on behalf of FHCA members noting that, while we supported the bill, we were concerned about the elimination of the Quality Monitors and would hope they could be retained to focus on problem facilities. The Committee also passed HB 433, sponsored by Representative Roberson, which creates a formulary system for nursing homes similar to the one presently used by hospitals.

So, it was a good day for FHCA, and along with so many great members in town and the sun shining upon us, we continue to work on behalf of long term care providers tomorrow and every day thereafter.

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