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.