Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Governor's Budget Preserves Medicaid Funding for Nursing Center Care

Today, Governor Scott released his $77 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16. The Governor provides full funding for nursing center care as projected by the December 12, 2014 Social Services Estimating Conference. The budget also recommends funding to develop a resource utilization groups(RUGs)-based prospective payment system (PPS) for nursing center care. It's important to note that FHCA supports the development of a PPS system; however not necessarily one based on the RUGs methodology which does not take into account Florida's high staffing standards required to meet residents’ care needs.

Florida Health Care Association applauds Governor Scott for preserving vital Medicaid funding for the care of nursing center residents. “We recognize that Florida’s leaders must find ways to fund a wide variety of critically important programs, and we’re thankful the Governor understands the important connection between adequate funding and high-quality care for our state's frailest elders,” said Emmett Reed, Executive Director of FHCA.

The Governor’s budget also recommends $400,000 in funding for the expansion of Florida’s Care Provider Background Screening Clearinghouse. In operation since 2013, the Clearinghouse enables several state agencies to conduct criminal background checks which, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), expedites the hiring process for employers and allows qualified applicants to start work sooner.

As part of AHCA's media statement in relation to the Governor's budget, Marilyn Wood, President of FHCA's advocacy partner Our Florida Promise, noted, “I want to thank Governor Scott for his support of this extremely important resource and for his commitment to ensuring that Florida’s background screening process is both thorough and secure.  Having the ability to use the Background Screening Clearinghouse for nursing home team members has not only saved me money, but also allows me to devote more of my time to what is really important – caring for our residents.”

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