Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Florida Health Care Association Praises Lawmakers for Passing Care-Centered Budget

The Florida Health Care Association today praised state lawmakers for adopting a budget that makes Florida’s long term care residents a priority by preserving Medicaid funding for nursing home care and, for the first time in more than 25 years, boosting the personal needs allowance for nursing home residents.

“This year’s budget represents a strong commitment to Florida’s long term care residents and the providers that care for them,” said Emmett Reed, Executive Director of the Florida Health Care Association. “The Legislature has taken a positive step to improve the quality of life for many of Florida’s more than 72,000 nursing home residents.”

Included in the budget is an increase in the resident personal needs allowance, tripling the allocation from $35 to $105 per month. This increased funding will provide greater choices to residents who rely on Medicaid as their long term care safety net, helping them to pay for personal items that improve their quality of life – things such as beauty services, clothing and other personal items.

Through the leadership of Senate President Don Gaetz demonstrating an unwavering commitment to improve the quality of life of Florida’s elders, this year’s budget includes $35.4 million in dedicated funding for long term care residents. In addition, FHCA applauded House Speaker Will Weatherford, Appropriations Chairs Sen. Joe Negron and Rep. Seth McKeel and Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairs Sen. Denise Grimsley and Rep. Matt Hudson for supporting a budget that considers the needs of Florida’s most frail elders.

Earlier this month legislators adopted historic changes that will bolster investment in Florida’s long term care sector by establishing realistic limits on excessive lawsuits against nursing homes. The Legislature also updated Florida’s Certificate of Need law, giving way for aging facilities to modernize their buildings and enhance their services so they are equipped to meet the changing demographics of Florida’s aging population.

“With this budget, lawmakers have addressed the needs of our facilities’ residents,” said Reed. “This Legislature will long be remembered for its effective, meaningful and thoughtful actions for the state’s long term care residents.”

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