Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Urge Congress to Protect Funding for Florida Nursing Home Care

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote any day on a Debt Ceiling Package that includes a “Doc Fix,” which is partially paid for by reducing the nursing home provider assessment rate from a maximum of 6% to 5.5%.  Under this plan, the impact on Florida is greater than any other state. Please TAKE ACTION TODAY and contact your Members of Congress and urge them to stop the Medicaid provider assessment reduction proposal in the Debt Ceiling debate.

In 2008, the Florida Legislature enacted a provision to create a provider assessment at the maximum amount in an attempt to fund nursing homes during the down economy.  The impact of this reduction on Florida nursing home care is significant.  A .5% reduction would cut funding for Medicaid nursing home providers by $86.5 million.  This means facilities’ average $213 per patient day rate would be cut by approximately $5.45.  Nursing homes are already underfunded by almost $21.00 per patient day (the difference between the Medicaid rate and the actual cost of care). Facilities will not be able to absorb such a reduction, especially given that 70% of their operating costs pay for the caregivers and other staff working to take care of our state’s most frail seniors.

The provider assessment program is essential to funding quality long term care services for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Any reductions to the provider assessment threshold will affect the care of thousands of Floridians in nursing homes and have a significant impact on nursing home providers, along with thousands of other health care providers throughout the state. 

Click here to send an email now to your Members of Congress and tell them to oppose any legislative proposal that would reduce the maximum allowable Medicaid provider assessment rate or quality assessment fee.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Legislators tour facilities to better understand long term care

As lawmakers gather in Tallahassee to begin committee work in anticipation of the 2014 legislative session, Florida Health Care Association continue their work of educating policy makers about the important role of long term care providers in caring for Florida's frail elders. Along with meeting with legislators throughout the Capitol and in their district offices, many facilities are offering tours to give lawmakers an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the quality care being delivered to long term care residents with complex medical needs.

Recently, Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (center, R-30) toured Page Health and Rehabilitation Center. FHCA Independent Owner Vice President and Page CEO Wes Edwards (left) provided an extensive tour, giving the Senator an opportunity to meet with residents and staff and learn more about the important services they offer to area seniors.