Thursday, February 27, 2014

Congressman Southerland Tours Bonifay Nursing & Rehab Center

Bonifay Nursing & Rehabilitation Center hosted Cong. Steve Southerland (R) this week. Administrator Debbie Montenero provided the Congressman with an extensive tour, after which he met with staff and residents, including the facility's Resident Council President.

The meeting was not only informative to the Congressman, but also to the facility staff who appreciated the opportunity to take an active role in long term care grassroots advocacy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

FHCA Unveils 2014 Legislative Agenda

FHCA hosted a media roundtable this week to brief reporters on the Association's legislative agenda and the issues we're working on behalf of long term care providers. Terry Russell of KR Management and Cary Smith of Adventist Care Centers took part in the event, sharing local insight about how the Association's legislative priorities will have a positive impact on nursing homes' and ALFs' ability to continue delivering high-quality care.

Discussions focused on SB 670, Nursing Home Litigation Reform, sponsored by Sen. John Thrasher (R-6), and its House companion, HB 569 by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-4). FHCA outlined the proposals in the bill, specifically the definition of "passive" investors - such as creditors, banks, property landlords, for example, not involved in the day-to-day care decisions - which could no longer be sued. Click here to read some of the initial media coverage that resulted.

To learn more about FHCA's 2014 Legislative Priorities, click here to read our Issue Briefs.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Florida Health Care Association Praises Senate Health Policy Committee for Advancing Litigation Reform

Citing the importance of protecting nursing home care without sacrificing accountability, the Florida Health Care Association today praised Senator Aaron Bean, Chairman of the Senate Health Policy Committee, and Senator John Thrasher, sponsor, for their leadership in advancing SB 670, the Nursing Home Litigation Reform bill.

“FHCA is thankful to Senator Bean and the committee for hearing this good bill. We applaud Senator Thrasher for his tremendous work on developing a bill that puts the best interests of nursing home residents before all other concerns,” stated Emmett Reed, Executive Director of Florida Health Care Association, the state’s first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the frail elders they serve. “This legislation properly safeguards the interests of residents, while giving Florida’s many outstanding nursing homes the assurance that they can continue to provide those residents with a high level of care without fear of excessive litigation.”

This proposal marks an historic agreement between the trial bar and the nursing home profession, two sides that have long been on opposite ends of this important issue. “I’d like to thank the Florida Justice Association and AARP for working with us to provide Senator Thrasher with recommendations that we believe are a practical solution to a problem that has vexed elder care for years,” Reed continued. “With this legislation, we can all move forward toward better care for those most in need of our services.

SB 670 clarifies and strengthens civil procedures for nursing home claims to ensure a fair litigation process where the rules are clear and it is difficult for any party to abuse the system. The bill contains four important elements:

1)    It will ensure that residents can pursue lawsuits against those directly at fault for negative events, while preventing claims against passive investors and others who have nothing to do with the incident.

2)    It will make sure legitimate awards are paid by revoking the license of any nursing home operator who doesn’t pay a final judgment, arbitration award or settlement.

3)    It makes it harder to pursue a punitive damage claim where there is insufficient evidence to substantiate it.

4)    It establishes a workable framework for providing appropriate medical records to family members.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Assisted Living Facility Reforms Continue Moving Through Legislature

Florida Health Care Association Executive Director Emmett Reed issued the following statement regarding today’s approval of assisted living facility reform legislation in House committee:
“We applaud the Health Innovation Subcommittee for passing House Bill 573. This bill will help safeguard the care Florida’s seniors receive in assisted living facilities, which play an important role in the long term care continuum for Florida’s seniors. We deeply appreciate Rep. Larry Ahern for his strong leadership in developing a bill that promotes ALF accountability without imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens, while at the same time preserves resident quality care and a level of independence these individuals expect from their ALF home.
FHCA looks forward to working with legislators throughout the session on issues that help Floridians lead quality-enriched lives through our state’s growing assisted living community."

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ACT NOW - Ask Your Legislator To Support Nursing Home Litigation Reform

Next week, nursing home litigation reform will make its first committee stops in both the House and the Senate. On Tuesday, HB 569 by Rep. Matt Gaetz will be heard in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee and SB 670 by Sen. John Thrasher will be heard in the Senate Health Policy Committee. This important legislation will help nursing home caregivers maintain financial resources needed for resident care and preserve much-needed investment in our state's nursing homes. 

Please TAKE ACTION and contact both your Senator and Representative and ask them to support these bills. Simply use the links below to enter your zipcode, find your legislator in each chamber and e-mail them with our pre-printed message. 
Help us advocate for responsible nursing home litigation reform that will ensure vital financial resources go toward resident quality care. 

Read FHCA's Issue Brief to learn more.