Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Flag Dedication Ceremony Honors Veterans Who Live and Work in Florida's Nursing Homes and ALFs

On November 12, Florida Health Care Association honored long term care professionals and residents who served in the United States Armed Forces during a Flag Dedication Ceremony at the Association’s headquarters in downtown Tallahassee. The event featured Lt. General Lawrence Snowden, retired Marine Corp veteran with more than 37 years of service, including combat as a Company Commander with the 23d Marines in the assault on Iwo Jima; Steve Murray, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force (retired), representing the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs; the Lincoln High School NJROTC Color Guard and area skilled nursing facility (aka nursing homes) and assisted living facility caregivers and residents, several of who are veterans.

“Florida’s skilled nursing facilities represent more than 280,000 employees and care for over 71,000 residents statewide, and many of the men and women working and residing in those facilities served our great country,” said Emmett Reed, FHCA Executive Director. “We erected this flagpole and are proud to dedicate the flag this morning to honor these brave veterans for their service and the sacrifices they made for our freedom.”

The American flag dedicated as part of the ceremony was flown by American troops in Iraq, and embedded into the flagpole base is a remnant from Saddam Hussein’s palace. The flag and remnant were brought back from Iraq by FHCA Chief Lobbyist Bob Asztalos, a U.S. Navy reservist who was stationed there in 2005, serving as a senior chief hospital corpsman with the U.S. Marine Corps. “The flag is more than the fabric that it is made from. It has meaning for which people shed their lives,” said Asztalos.

Caregivers Gather to Celebrate Quality, Promote the Positive Images of Long Term Care

Over 100 caregivers from skilled nursing facilities (aka nursing homes) around the Broward and Palm Beach County areas were recently honored by former Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Ft. Lauderdale) for their dedication and commitment to delivering high-quality, long term care to seniors. The Quality Care Celebration Event took place at Stratford Court of Boca Raton and featured seven local facilities which earned the American Health Care Association’s (AHCA) 2012 National Quality Award. Debra Howe, President/CEO of Airamid Health Services, also accepted an award on behalf of the organization having 100 percent facility enrollment in the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes Campaign.

“Skilled nursing facilities employ over 280,000 people in Florida who deliver high-quality care to more than 70,000 residents and patients each and every day," said Emmett Reed, executive Director of the Florida Health Care Association, the state's first and largest advocate for Florida's skilled nursing/long term care providers and the residents under their care. "These caregivers matter, and today’s event is a celebration of the passion and commitment they bring to their residents and patients every day."

Thirty-eight Florida facilities received the 2012 AHCA National Quality Award. During the event, Sen. Bogdanoff recognized these local facilities: Boynton Health Care Center in Boynton Beach, which earned the Silver Quality Award; Bronze Quality Awards recipients Stratford Court Boca Raton; Whitehall Boca, Boca Raton; Wilton Manors Health and Rehabilitation Center, Ft. Lauderdale; Jupiter Medical Center Pavilion, Jupiter; Lakeside Health Center, West Palm Beach; and Rehabilitation Center of The Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach. The AHCA National Quality Award Program is centered on the core values and criteria of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program and consists of an entry level Bronze Award, a more rigorous Silver Award and a final Gold Award.

The Quality Care Celebration Event also promoted the positive images of long term care in Florida. FHCA President Scott Allen debuted videos as part of a web-based public relations campaign which featured first-hand testimonials from family members and conversations with caregivers showcasing the quality care in Florida’s skilled nursing facilities. “Today we are sending a message to everyone across the state of Florida that quality in Florida’s skilled nursing and long term care facilities is good,” said Scott Allen.

“This event is an important opportunity to show our community that we are more than just a noble profession. We are delivering compassionate, quality health care to those who need it most," said Debra Howe, President/CEO of Airamid Health Services, a West Palm Beach-based organization which manages 44 skilled nursing facilities and five assisted living facilities across the state of Florida.