Friday, February 24, 2012

FHCA Provider Program - Over 200 Members Hit the Hill on Lobby Wednesday

Hear from FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed about the more than 200 FHCA members taking part in Lobby Wednesday this week. Representatives included Airamid Health Management, Opis Management Resources, Florida Health Care Activity Coordinators Association, the Association of Nutrition & Food Service Professionals and FHCA Districts III, IV, V, VIII and XIII. Interviews with frontline staff, district officers, first-time participants and seasoned visitors show the importance of getting involved in this grassroots initiative.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Patients Ahead of Paperwork Bill Passes House

FHCA is pleased to report that HB 621 by Rep. Jim Frishe (R-54), the Nursing Home Quality Efficiency Act, has passed unanimously out of the House of Representatives. Thanks to the collective work of our staff and lobby team, along with the hundreds of FHCA members who traveled to Tallahassee, for helping lawmakers understand how this legislation will put patients ahead of paperwork by eliminating some duplicative paperwork and reporting requirements.

Also passing out of the House was HB 943 by Rep. Doug Holder (R-70). This bill makes several fixes to the background screening law enacted in 2010, including a duplicative screening issue that affects DOEA direct-service providers and many of FHCA's assisted living facility members.

We're watching the Senate companions to both these bills as they make their way to the final committee stop and will keep you informed of their progress.

Friday, February 17, 2012

FHCA Provider Program - Week 6 of 2012 Session Highlights Importance of Grassroots

FHCA Executive Director recaps the week, while members in town for Lobby Wednesday and state lawmakers talk about the importance of grassroots and getting involved early and often to have the voices of long term care heard. Special thanks to Healthcare Services Group for their Lobby Wednesday sponsorship.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

HB 621 Advances - bill will help caregivers focus more time on resident care

This morning, the House Health & Human Services Committee passed HB 621 by Rep. Jim Frishe (R-54), the Nursing Home Quality Efficiency Act which helps put patients ahead of paperwork by eliminating some duplicative paperwork and reporting requirements. Thanks to the hard work of our bill sponsor, and the collective efforts of FHCA and its members, there was significant bipartisan support for the bill. We’re also watching the Senate companion, Senate Bill 482 by Senator Jack Latvala (R-16), and will keep you updated on its movement.

Friday, February 10, 2012

FHCA Provider Program - Senate Budget Update, Lobby Wednesday Interviews with Cypress Health Group

FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed reports on the Senate's zero (0) cut to nursing home funding in its budget. Also, members in town for Lobby Wednesday include Cypress Health Group, Airamid Health Management and Pines of Sarasota. Interviews with FHCA Senior VP Scott Allen and Cypress President Rich Kase give a perspective on this important grassroots intiative and the work also being done at the federal level.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

TAKE ACTION! Tell Congress to Oppose Reductions to Nursing Facility Bad Debt Reimbursement

U.S. House and Senate Conferees are meeting daily to resolve the payroll tax cut controversy, provide a doc fix and possibly extend the therapy cap exceptions process. One proposal being considered by the Committee, which was part of last year's House-passed legislation, includes a measure which reduces the federal reimbursement of bad debt to skilled nursing facilities. The full impact of this cut is estimated to be $500 million a year, or a 1.6% cut in Medicare rates, when fully implemented in 2015. Florida, however, greatly pays for a disproportionate share of the entire proposal - our state's long term care facilities would see a funding cut of as much as an estimated $150 million over the next three years. With facilities already experiencing significant reductions in state Medicaid and federal Medicare funding, more cuts will severely impact providers' ability to provide high-quality care to our state's frail elders.

The Conferees have a March 1st deadline to resolve this issue. With that date getting closer with each passing day - we must weigh in on the impact of bad debt on our profession.

We need your help with voicing your concerns to the members of Florida's Congressional delegation. Please contact them TODAY and tell them to oppose the reduction of bad debt reimbursements for skilled nursing facilities. Click here to enter your zip code to find your Member of Congress and send them an e-mail with this important message. You can use this link to see the impact of the proposal on your Congressional district.

For more information, review the brief, “Medicare Bad Debt Coverage to Skilled Nursing Facilities: A Critical Lifeline.”

Senate budget contains no cuts to nursing home funding

Yesterday, the Senate released its initial proposed 2012-13 budget with a zero (0) cut to nursing home Medicaid reimbursement rates. The proposal funds price level increases (inflationary increases) and transfers funding for nursing home case load growth to fund additional Nursing Home Diversion slots. Sen. Joe Negron (R-28), who chairs the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services Appropriations, has indicated publicly on several occasions that he had no intentions of cutting nursing home funding in his budget this year, and we want to thank him, as well as Sen. Don Gaetz (R-4) and Mike Haridopolos (R-26) who were vocal supporters, for being champions for the frail elders cared for in our member facilities.

As we've previously reported, the House cut to nursing home Medicaid funding is 2.5 percent ($76 million). While we are in good standing with the Senate budget at this point, there is still a long way to go in the budgeting process. Both chambers will have to agree on a final budget, and it's important we keep reiterating the message that preserving Medicaid funding is critical to facilities' ability to maintain high-quality care.

While FHCA's member facilities continue focusing on delivering that high-quality care, the Association is meeting daily with lawmakers to help them understand the need for adequate funding. As budget negotiations between the House and Senate continue to unfold over the last few weeks of session, we'll need your active involvement to be a strong voice at the Capitol. We look forward to seeing more FHCA members in Tallahassee over the next few weeks for Lobby Wednesdays and will keep you informed on this important issue.

Friday, February 3, 2012

FHCA Provider Program - Lobby Wednesday with Gulf Coast Health Care

FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed talks with members of Gulf Coast Health Care, and Lobby Wednesday sponsor, Ponce de Leon, about their meetings with lawmakers and the impact of being involved in this important grassroots initiative.

Bills that put patients ahead of paperwork on the move this week

On the agenda this week were several bills that contain similar language as that which is in the Nursing Home Quality Efficiency Act (HB 621 by Rep. Jim Frishe, R-54 and SB 482 by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-16), the FHCA-supported bills which put patients ahead of paperwork. HB 1419 by Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-33) is the Agency for Health Care Administration-supported bill which would eliminate some duplicate and unnecessary reporting requirements for nursing homes. The bill was heard in the House Health & Human Services Quality Subcommittee on Tuesday and passed.

During that same Committee meeting, FHCA stood up in support of HB 787 by Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-116), which contains similar proposals to eliminate duplicative requirements.

SB 1884 by Sen. Rene′ Garcia (R-40), the companion to HB 1419, was heard that same afternoon in the Senate Health Regulation Committee. The bill passed, but without the language reflected in SB 482, due to the fact that SB 482 is moving along through the process.

FHCA will continue tracking these important bills which put patients ahead of paperwork by eliminating some outdated and duplicative requirements, allowing caregivers more time to focus on delivering high-quality care to long term care residents.