Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pediatric nursing facilities care for those who need it most

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the State of Florida, alleging that children with disabilities are unnecessarily living in Florida’s nursing homes. The lawsuit comes after a DOJ findings letter that was sent to AHCA last September, stating the state was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by unnecessarily institutionalizing children.

Florida Health Care Association has always supported individuals receiving the most appropriate care in the safest and least restrictive settings, and we have actively supported the Agency for Health Care Administration’s efforts over the past year to continue making improvements to an already strong program for these medically fragile children.

It's important for members of the media and the public to be informed about these special facilities caring for children and young adults, whose medical conditions are too complex to be safely cared for in any other setting. These facilities have dedicated caregivers on staff, including registered nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, speech therapists, dieticians and social workers, to name a few. In addition, they have a very specific set of requirements and regulations to care for children 21 and under.

The areas where these children live are separate and secure, and designed specifically for children. You’ll find handicap-accessible playgrounds, toys, stuffed animals and a brightly-colored, kid-friendly living environment. Education is an important component, and through collaboration among the families, medical team and school system, each child’s schooling needs are met. You’ll also find more than twice the number of staffing hours per child than that which is required for seniors.

Despite implications by the press about financial incentives, the unfortunate reality is that Medicaid doesn’t come close to covering the cost of care for these fragile children - care that includes 24-hour pulse and oxygen monitoring, specialized wheelchairs, off-campus outings with all the necessary staff so they can experience what it’s like to be a kid. Yet, despite a chronic funding shortfall, these facilities continue to do all that it takes to deliver high-quality, compassionate care to those who need it most.

Efforts should be focused on supporting these facilities as they meet an important need: helping children continue to thrive and if able, return back home; helping families cope with the everyday challenges of caring for a child with a disability; and serving as an important safety net for those children who have no alternative support system for their 24-hour needs.

Friday, July 19, 2013

FHCA Names 2013 Legislative Champions for the Elderly

Florida lawmakers honored for standing up for long term care residents and caregivers

Florida Health Care Association has named its 2013 Legislative Champions for the Elderly, which recognizes those legislators who championed pro-long term care issues and used his or her leadership in the Legislature to stand up for adequate Medicaid funding for nursing home resident quality care and valuable caregiver jobs, displayed courage on tough issues and championed legislation that ensures a fair and balanced long term care regulatory system. The following individuals have been named an FHCA 2013 Champion for the Elderly:
• Rep. Daniel Davis (R – Jacksonville)
• Rep. Katie Edwards (D – Sunrise)
• Rep. Eddy Gonzalez (R – Hialeah Gardens)
• Rep. Bill Hager (R- Boca Raton)
• Rep. Mark Pafford (D – West Palm Beach)
• Rep. Cary Pigman (R – Sebring)
• Sen. RenĂ© Garcia (R-Hialeah)
• Sen. Denise Grimsley (R – Sebring)
• Sen. Joe Negron (R – Palm City)
• Sen. Jeremy Ring (D – Margate)

“We’re proud to honor these legislative leaders for standing up for the profession and supporting legislation that ensures Florida’s nursing facilities can continue their important work of delivering high-quality, long term care to our state’s seniors and people with disabilities,” said Emmett Reed, executive director of Florida Health Care Association, the state’s first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers.

FHCA’s legislative awards will be presented at the Association’s Annual Conference on Wednesday, August 7, at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood. The Awards are determined as part of FHCA’s post-session Legislative Scorecard, which assesses legislators on their sponsorship/co-sponsorship of pro-long term care legislation, their voting record and overall support or non-support related to issues or bill(s) that impact the profession. The Legislative Scorecard also includes detailed information regarding Florida long term care priorities and the Association’s grassroots initiatives.

A copy of FHCA’s 2013 Legislative Scorecard is available in the Advocacy Section of FHCA’s website.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

FHCA members earn Gold Seal status

Five Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) member nursing homes have been awarded the Governor’s Gold Seal Award, which recognizes nursing homes that demonstrate the highest standards of quality of life and care for their residents. The five new recipients are: Bridgeview Center, Ormond Beach; The Chateau at Moorings Park, Naples; Coquina Center, Ormond Beach; Highlands Lake Center, Lakeland; and The Manor at Carpenters, Lakeland.

Governor Rick Scott said, “I would like to congratulate the five nursing homes that are receiving the Gold Seal Award. These nursing homes set the example of quality care for Florida’s elders, and are paving the way to providing all Florida families with the assurance that their loved ones are getting the care they deserve. This is why the Florida Families First budget invests in critical programs and priorities important for the safety and well-being of Florida seniors.”

“FHCA's members are committed to delivering high quality care to our state's frail elders, and FHCA is pleased the Governor has recognized that by bestowing this achievement to these deserving facilities,” said J. Emmett Reed, FHCA Executive Director.

Nursing homes that wish to be considered for the Gold Seal Award must submit an application with supporting documentation 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 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 (now LeadingAge Florida), Florida Health Care Association, Florida Life Care Residents Association and the State Long Term Care Ombudsman.

Of the 681 licensed nursing homes in Florida, 24 nursing homes currently hold the Gold Seal Award. The Gold Seal Award program was established in 2002 and recognizes Florida nursing homes that have exceptionally high standards and display excellence in the quality of care delivered to their residents.

For a complete listing of Gold Seal facilities, visit FloridaHealthFinder.gov 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.