Stable Medicaid funding means access to critical services and stability of long term care workforce
Florida Health Care Association today (FHCA) applauded Governor Rick Scott for his leadership in protecting critical Medicaid funding for Florida’s seniors and persons with disabilities who are cared for in nursing homes.
“We recognize that Florida’s leaders must find ways to reduce spending and fund a wide variety of critically important programs, and we’re thankful the Governor has heard our concerns over facilities’ ability to operate effectively as a result of the state and federal funding reductions we’ve endured in recent years,” said Emmett Reed, Executive Director of FHCA, the state’s first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the residents under their care.
Florida’s long term care providers have made great strides in quality, yet many are struggling to meet the growing demand of aging baby boomers in light of diminishing government funding. Nursing homes devote a full 70 percent of operating expenses to labor – nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants and other staff required to care for nearly 71,000 frail elders who require complex medical care, 24-hours a day. With the 2013 legislative session set to begin in just over a month, topping the list of the Association’s priorities will be to ask legislators to begin restoring Medicaid funding that has been cut from nursing home quality care over the past several years.
“Our hope is that as the state continues to grow back its revenues, the Legislature examines its priorities and ensures that the care of frail elders and people with disabilities are at the top of their list,” Reed continued. “Florida Health Care Association and the long term care providers we represent look forward to working with the Governor and state legislators throughout the session to ensure that our residents and patients have access to critical services and that our caregiver workforce remains stable.”
Medicaid is a vital resource for nursing homes, with over 60 percent of residents relying on the program to pay for their daily care. Since 2008, Medicaid rates for nursing home care have been reduced by $696.4 million, with facilities losing an average of $22.81 per patient per day ($550,000 annually). In 2013, nursing homes will also experience a loss of over $370 million in Medicare funding through health care reform, government regulations, and Congressional legislation.