Thursday, November 18, 2010

FHCA presents the long term care perspective as lawmakers consider Medicaid reform

This week, lawmakers convened for a special legislative session which focused primarily on overriding vetoes. The Legislature passed a Medicaid Memorial (SB 4A), which urges the Congress to amend Medicaid law and lays out guidelines for Medicaid reform that the Legislature will use during the 2011 session.

Yesterday, Sen. Joe Negron (R-28) hosted a committee meeting inviting representatives from long term care, hospitals, managed care groups, AARP and others to discuss the current Medicaid program and possibilities for reform. FHCA Treasurer Joe Mitchell testified on behalf of FHCA, providing an overview of our demographics, including the fact that since 2001, nursing home expenditures in the Medicaid budget have fallen from 19 percent to 15 percent, despite the growing aging population requiring long term care services.

He also provided them with an update of the work the Association has been doing over the past year in meeting with HMOs, including traveling to Arizona as well as researching other state's managed care programs and engaging in dialogue with a number of stakeholders across the long term care continuum. He reiterated the point that, as lawmakers move through this arduous process, the steady improvements to nursing home quality care cannot be jeopardized.

Much of the questions and discussion among lawmakers during the committee meeting were reflective of the messages that long term care providers have been sharing with them over the past year through ongoing meetings and facility tours. It was evident that they were well educated about the complex care and commitment to quality our members provide to the residents in your care. As plans for holiday activities begin for FHCA member facilities, we encourage you to keep inviting your local legislators into your buildings to keep up this momentum and strengthen those relationships which are vital to our long term care issues this session.

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