Thursday, January 31, 2013

FHCA Applauds Governor for Protecting Medicaid Funding for Nursing Home Care in State Budget

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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nursing Homes Recognized for Gold Seal Excellence in Long Term Care

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) recognized nine Florida nursing homes this week for receiving the Governor's Gold Seal Award, which recognizes nursing homes that demonstrate the highest standards of quality of life and care for their residents.
Governor Rick Scott said, "We owe it to Florida's elders to provide the best care we can. I would like to congratulate and recognize the nine nursing homes that are receiving the Governor's Gold Seal Award. Through their hard work, Florida families can know that their loved ones are getting the best care possible."
Award recipients include six new recipients*and three renewal recipients. They are as follow:
  • Joseph L Morse Geriatric Center Inc., West Palm Beach (FHCA member)
  • Life Care St. Johns, Inc., St. Augustine* (FHCA member)
  • Tierra Pines Center, Largo* (FHCA member)
  • Tuskawilla Nursing and Rehab Center, Winter Springs* (FHCA member)
  • Ayers Health and Rehabilitation Center, Trenton
  • Bear Creek Nursing Center, Hudson*
  • Bon Secours Maria Manor Nursing Care Center, St. Petersburg*
  • Harbour's Edge, Delray Beach
  • The Pavilion for Health Care, Penney Farms

"Florida's Health Care Association (FHCA) is pleased that the Agency for Health Care Administration has recognized these facilities with the Gold Seal. Florida's nursing facilities continue to deliver high quality care," said Emmett Reed, Executive Director of FHCA. "Recognition programs like these are important to helping give the public a clear picture of the positive care outcomes and customer service that long term care providers are delivering every day.”
Nursing homes that wish to be considered for the Gold Seal Award must submit an application to the Agency, which is reviewed by the Governor's Panel on Excellence in Long Term Care. The Panel considers the criteria below and makes recommendations to the Governor. Gold Seal recipients must be in operation a minimum of 30 months prior to the date of application and the facility must:
  • Meet a quality of care scoring and ranking that places them in the top 10 percent in their region or top 15 percent in the state and be a 5-star facility in the Nursing Home Guide
  • Have no Class I or II deficiencies within 30 months preceding application
  • Provide evidence of financial soundness and stability
  • Participate in a consumer satisfaction process involving residents, family members and guardians
  • Involve families and members of the community in the facility on a regular basis
  • Have a stable workforce
  • Have an outstanding record with the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council within the 30 months preceding application
  • Provide targeted in-service training to meet training needs identified.
The Gold Seal Award program was established in 2002 and developed and implemented by the Governor's Panel on Excellence in Long-Term Care, which is composed of persons appointed by the Governor's Office, Agency for Health Care Administration, Department of Health, Department of Elder Affairs, Florida Association of Homes for the Aging, Florida Health Care Association, Florida Life Care Residents Association and the State Long Term-Care Ombudsman.
For a complete listing of Gold Seal facilities, please visit then click on Find a Facility or Provider. From here choose Search by Facility Type/Location and use the Advanced Search option when searching for Nursing Homes to find the list of Gold Seal facilities.

Friday, January 18, 2013

AHCA Selects Plans to Provide LTC for Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program

Earlier this week, AHCA selected five health plans to provide coverage to seniors who need long term care under the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program. The announcement came after a bidding process that included HMOs and other types of managed-care plans competing in the state's 11 regions. AHCA states that it expects to begin using the new long term care system in August in the Orlando area and then will gradually expand to other parts of Florida.

American Eldercare was selected in all 11 regions and Sunshine State Health Plan was selected to serve 10 regions. United HealthCare of Florida was selected for nine regions, while Coventry Health Care of Florida was chosen for four and Amerigroup Florida was picked for two. HMOs not selected for contracts included Humana and WellCare.

FHCA has posted information for members in its online Medicaid Managed Care Resource Center, including AHCA's news release on this issue, the selected plans by region and the detailed Recommended Contract Award documents by region.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Florida Supreme Court Upholds Retirement Law

Today, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the Legislature's requirement that state employees contribute 3 percent of their pay toward the state pension system, overturning a lower-court decision last year that had held it was unconstitutional. The ruling allows the Legislature to avoid having to replace funds contributed by employees since the law went into effect in July 2011. The state now avoids a nearly $2 billion budget gap which would have likely affected funding decisions this session.

During the 2013 session, FHCA and its members will be advocating for the Legislature to begin working toward restoring Medicaid funding cuts that providers have experienced since 2008 - nearly $695 million in reductions. Long term care providers in Florida have been hit hard by deep cuts to Medicaid and Medicare over the past several years. As Governor Scott and House and Senate leadership begin developing their budgets for the upcoming session, we stand ready to work with them to continue acknowledging that Medicaid funding cuts are something we cannot absorb in 2013. Our sector needs a break to return as healthy contributors to economic growth while delivering high-quality long term care.

To read a copy of the Supreme Court decision, click here.