Wednesday, January 29, 2014

FHCA Applauds Governor for Preserving Medicaid Funding for Nursing Facility Care in State Budget

Stable Medicaid funding means access to critical services and stability of long term care workforce

Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) today applauded Governor Rick Scott for his leadership in preserving critical Medicaid funding for Florida’s seniors and persons with disabilities who are cared for in nursing facilities (also referred to as nursing homes).

“Florida’s nursing facilities provide vital services to our state’s frailest elders, and we’re thankful the Governor understands the important connection between adequate funding and high-quality care,” 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 continue to make great strides in quality, yet many are struggling to meet the growing demand of aging baby boomers in light of diminishing government funding combined with rising liability costs. 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 2014 legislative session set to begin in just over a month, topping the list of the Association’s priorities will be to ask legislators for relief from the impact of lawsuits to preserve financial resources needed for resident quality care. 

“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,” Reed continued.

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 just over $21 per patient per day ($550,000 annually). In 2013, nursing homes also experienced a loss of over $370 million in Medicare funding through health care reform, government regulations, and Congressional legislation.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CON Bill That Promotes Modernization of Nursing Facilities Advances

Today, the House Health and Innovation Committee advanced HB 287 by Rep. Frank Artiles (R-118), the Certificate of Need bill that increases flexibility to move nursing facility beds and create incentives to replace old buildings with modern facilities designed to meet the long-term health care needs of aging baby boomers.

HB 287, along with its Senate companion, SB 268 by Sen. Denise Grimsley (R-21), preserves the current Certificate of Need (CON) law which promotes health care cost containment, encourages home and community-based care and prevents unnecessary duplication of long term care services. In addition, it encourages the establishment of new or expanded facilities and encourages renovation or
replacement of existing facilities, which will best meet consumers’ needs and ensure that high quality services are provided.

As HB 287 continues to move through the process, FHCA is asking your help with contacting your Representative to urge them to support this legislation by co-sponsoring the bill. Please click here to e-mail your legislator and ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor.

Click here to read FHCA's Issue Brief and learn more about this important legislation.