Friday, March 28, 2014

Week Four Sees Progress in CON, Litigation Reform

FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed highlights the House passage of Certificate of Need legislation, sponsored by Rep. Frank Artiles. Also featured are members in town for FHCA Lobby Day and FHCA's support of Ambassadors for Aging Day.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Certificate of Need Bill Passes Unanimously Through Florida House

FHCA applauds House leadership and bill sponsors for their support 

The Florida Health Care Association applauds the Florida House of Representatives today for passing HB 287. The bill 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.


As the state’s first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the residents under their care, FHCA commends bill sponsor Rep. Frank Artiles for his foresight in anticipating the needs of Florida’s senior citizens.


As more Florida baby boomers transition to retirement, it is appropriate for the state to take critical steps like those outlined in this good legislation to continue our leading role among America’s most senior friendly states. With this bill, seniors in need of nursing facility care will have a high-quality setting that promotes person-centered care.


The long term care demographics of our state have changed over the years, and Florida’s nursing facilities need to be ready to care for seniors when they can no longer care for themselvesThis bill will provide incentives that will allow renovation or replacement of Florida’s aging facilities and the movement of nursing home beds to match those changing demographics. The provisions will assist facilities in providing the technology upgrades and other enhancements that ensure they are equipped to meet residents’ current and future needs for high-quality care.It is an excellent step forward.”

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nursing Home Litigation Reform To Be Heard on Senate Floor

Ask Your Legislator to Vote YES on SB 670

Nursing home litigation reform will be voted on the Senate floor this Wednesday, March 26. SB 670 by Sen. John Thrasher will provide for responsible legal reforms that will help preserve much-needed investment in Florida's nursing homes and help them maintain the financial resources needed for resident quality care.

Please TAKE ACTION and contact both your Senator and Representative and ask them to vote YES on this bill, and its House companion- HB 569 by Rep. Matt Gaetz, when they are heard in the Senate and House chamber, respectively. Click this link to enter your zipcode, find your legislator in each chamber and e-mail them with our pre-printed message.

Help FHCA advocate for responsible nursing home litigation reform that will ensure vital financial resources are preserved for resident quality care.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Progress in the Legislature as Several Long Term Care Bills Advance

FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed discusses the positive movement of nursing home litigation reform, Certificate of Need and assisted living facility reform legislation in week three of Session. Also, nearly 150 caregivers from Gulf Coast Health Care, Valencia Hills Health & Rehabilitation Center, and vendor members join FHCA for Lobby Day at the Capitol.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sen. John Thrasher on Nursing Home Litigation Reform

Sen. John Thrasher, sponsor of SB 670 which provides reasonable nursing home litigation reform, speaks about his concern for resident quality care and how this bill preserves the financial resources needed for that care, during the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Provider Program Highlights New and Seasoned Lobby Day Participants

Week two of the legislative session highlights Lobby Day participants from FHCA Districts IX, XIII and the Florida Leaders program. Hear from seasoned professionals and first-timers on their experience. Executive Director Emmett Reed also calls members to action to help contact legislators about passing ALF reforms.

TAKE ACTION - Contact Your Legislator and Urge Them To Take House Position on ALF Reforms

Both the House and Senate continue addressing assisted living facility reform this session. Legislation in both chambers (HB 573 by Rep. Larry Ahern/SB 248 by Sen. Eleanor Sobel) contains important steps toward fixing the ALF regulatory system to hold poor performers accountable and give seniors and their families assurances that Florida's ALFs are safe, provide the appropriate care and services and respect residents' desire for an independent, home-like environment.

FHCA needs your help in contacting your legislators to ask them to support the House position, which does not contain a troublesome provision that directs the Agency for Health Care Administration to create a consumer website about ALFs that includes an anonymous comment section. We agree consumers should have access to information that helps them compare ALFs and make informed choices about appropriate facility placement. However, an anonymous comment section is inappropriate when it offers nothing to prevent disgruntled employees, competitors or others from posting negative comments with no recourse to verify the information for accuracy.  

Click here to enter your zip code and find your legislator.
Use our helpful, pre-written message to contact your Representative and Senator today. Ask them to take the House position in passing meaningful ALF reforms.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Provider Program - 2014 Session Underway

FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed reports on progress of ALF and nursing home litigation reforms. Also, highlights of members in town for FHCA's first round Lobby Days for the 2014 legislative session, including a special ALF Lobby Day.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bill Introducing Reasonable Lawsuit Limits Advances

Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) today commended the House Civil Justice Committee for supporting legislation that will bring fairness to Florida’s justice system by introducing reasonable limits to lawsuits against nursing homes. House Bill 569 by Rep. Matt Gaetz, along with its companion Senate Bill 670 by Sen. John Thrasher, will ensure that those who need redress have access to the courts while ensuring that the rules are clear, especially for those having no influence over daily care decisions.

The legislation is the product of an historic agreement between FHCA, the state’s first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the residents under their care and the trial lawyer group, the Florida Justice Association, and is supported by AARP. It

“This legislation is about protecting nursing home care without sacrificing accountability, and we are extremely grateful to Rep. Gaetz and Sen. Thrasher for their leadership in bringing common sense to all sides,” said FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed. “It properly safeguards the interests of nursing home residents, while giving Florida’s many outstanding nursing homes the assurance that they can continue to provide a high level of care to their residents without fear of excessive litigation.”

The legislation will:
  • Ensure that residents can pursue lawsuits against those directly at fault for negative events, while preventing claims against passive investors – banks, creditors, property landlords and others - who have nothing to do with daily care decisions.
  • Give the Agency for Health Care Administrator the authority to revoke the license of any nursing home operator who doesn’t pay a final judgment, arbitration award or settlement and prevents operators from transferring that license to any related party during the judgment process.
  • Require the Court to hold a hearing and weigh admissible evidence before a punitive damage motion can move forward, clarifying the process without changing any standards.
  • Establish a workable framework for providing appropriate medical records to family members.
“This proposal fosters an environment that will pave the way for much-needed investment in our state’s nursing homes, allowing for facility enhancements, renovations and technology upgrades,” Reed continued. “At a time when aging baby boomers demand a more person-centered care facility, this is in the best interest of nursing home residents – as it should be.”

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bills Focused on Quality Improvements for Florida’s Long Term Care Residents Advance

Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), the state’s first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the residents under their care, applauded the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee for advancing legislation focused on quality of care improvements for residents in Florida’s assisted living facilities. House Bill 573 by Rep. Larry Ahern provides for important reforms to Florida’s assisted living facility sector and gives families a helpful decision-making tool for selecting an ALF.

“Pines of Sarasota is one of many facilities in our state that is setting the bar high when it comes to delivering quality care, improving customer satisfaction and strengthening our workforce through enhanced training,” said Rosemary Carbonelli, administrator of the Pines of Sarasota ALF, in testimony before the committee about the need for passing ALF reforms this session. “As a provider committed to ensuring the best care for my residents, it’s important this legislation passes this year. Our state’s seniors deserve to be cared for an environment that is safe and respects their ability to age with dignity.” Pines of Sarasota is a 72-bed assisted living facility and a member of FHCA.

“We’re grateful to 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,” said FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed, applauding the bill sponsor and the committee for advancing this important legislation. 

The committee also passed HB 91 by Rep. Ken Roberson, which streamlines the Florida Long Term Care Ombudsman program.

“Florida’s ombudsman volunteers play an important role in resident quality of life,” Reed said. “FHCA appreciates Rep. Roberson for introducing this good bill. A focused approach for Florida’s Long Term Care Ombudsman program that fosters open lines of communication between volunteers and long term care providers is in the best interest of residents, whose highest quality of care is always our first priority.”