Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gearing up for a tough 2010

Next Tuesday, March 2nd, begins the 2010 legislative session. Lawmakers will return to Tallahassee with a sense of urgency to find ways to plug a $3 billion budget deficit and prepare for the expanding Medicaid rolls resulting from Florida's increasing number of unemployed and uninsured citizens. The health care budget is looking at an unprecedented $1.8 billion deficit.

With the theme at the Capitol being that Medicaid is the biggest cost driver in the budget, legislators are discussing several ideas on how to reform the program. Main ideas include moving all Medicaid recipients into managed care, expanding the current Medicaid Reform pilot to an additional 19 counties, and as presented by Nursing Home Diversion Provider American Eldercare, eliminating Medicaid funding for intermediate care level residents in nursing homes and serving those individuals via the Diversion Program.

As you can see, we have our work cut out for us, which is we need all our FHCA members to participate in our 2010 Lobby Wednesdays. Last week, we spoke with Darrell Jean of Consulate Health Care, who was in town for our first Lobby Wednesday. If you're unsure as to why you should participate or how your voice makes a difference, click here to hear from your fellow FHCA member about what an impact you can make on our lawmakers.

Along with getting involved in this grassroots initiative, we've got members across the state meeting with newspaper editorial boards over the coming weeks to educate the media and ultimately local citizens about why we cannot drain funding from the nursing home line item to pay for other long term care services and emphasize how these suggested budget savings could put residents at risk and eliminate choice for those needing future long term care services.

FHCA has more information about these and all of our 2010 legislative priorities, which you can find on the FHCA Web site. Stay informed and get involved this session, your residents and your profession depends on it.

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