Friday, March 27, 2015

FHCA Provider Program - Members Thank Bill Sponsors, Advocate for Medicaid Funding

For the March 27 episode, FHCA highlights members in town for Lobby Wednesday, including FHCA Districts III in Lakeland, IX in Jacksonville and XIII in the Treasure Coast. Genesis Healthcare and Signature HealthCARE members also joined us to advocate for important long term care priorities and thank lawmakers sponsoring hospital admission status legislation (HB 309/SB 768) that will ensure seniors and their families are informed about their access to the Medicare coverage they deserve.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

House and Senate Budgets Protect Funding for Nursing Center Care

Late last week, the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services each released their Chairman's proposed budgets. FHCA is pleased to report that both budgets hold nursing center care harmless from any funding cuts and add the standard inflationary increase.

Additionally, the House budget included $6.3 million to reduce the Medicaid Long Term Care wait-list and $2.9 million for PACE expansion in Palm Beach County, while the Senate budget included $18.7 million to reduce the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long Term Care wait-list.

Further, the Senate budget included $238,563 for the Background Screening Clearinghouse System. The House budget also contained funding of $400,000 to maintain and upgrade the Background Screening Clearinghouse System, $900,000 for the Area Agencies on Aging to assist seniors enrolling in Statewide Medicaid Managed Care and $250,000 for the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to contract with an independent entity to develop a plan to convert the current nursing center cost-based per diem reimbursement payment process to a prospective payment methodology.

It should be noted that the House and Senate health care budgets differ by just over $5.0 billion, as the Senate has included $2.8 billion in the budget to expand health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act and nearly $2.2 billion for the continuation of the Low Income Pool. The House budget proposal did not include either program.

Friday, March 20, 2015

FHCA Provider Program - LTC Resident Dream Flights and Lobby Wednesday Action

This week's Provider Program features a break from the Capitol to showcase long term care residents taking flight with Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundations. Four residents from Seven Hills and Brynwood Health and Rehabilitation Centers experienced a flight of a lifetime on Tuesday, thanks to FHCA’s sponsorship of the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation. Bettie Sharp (79) and Phyllis Elmore (76) of Seven Hills and Leo Kelly (72) and Joseph LaRosa (82) of Brynwood enjoyed a memorable flight on a restored 1940s Boeing Stearman, the same aircraft used to train many military aviators in the late 1930s and early ‘40s. Under a clear blue sky, each resident took off on the Dream Flight, full of life and with smiles on their faces.

You can also catch highlights from the more than 100 members from Gulf Coast Health Care, who were in town for Lobby Wednesday helping to advocate for important long term care priorities.

Friday, March 13, 2015

FHCA Provider Program Week 2 - FHCA Kicks Off Lobby Wednesdays

For this March 13 episode, FHCA kicks off its Lobby Wednesdays with members from Consulate Health Care, Florida Leaders, FHCA's Legislative Committee and FHC Activity Coordinators Association. Also watch progress on several bills we're tracking. Special thanks to our Lobby Wednesday sponsors, Bouchard Insurance and Cotler Healthcare and Development.

Friday, March 6, 2015

FHCA Provider Program - 2015 Legislative Session Underway

FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed outlines the Association's 2015 legislative priorities and reports on progress of House Bill 309 which requires hospitals to provide consumers with advance notification about their admission status.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bill requiring hospitals to notify patients about their admission status advances

Today, Florida Health Care Association applauded the House Health Innovation Subcommittee for passing House Bill 309. A key priority for FHCA this session, this legislation requires hospitals to give advance written and verbal notification to patients about their hospital admission status being classified as inpatient or as outpatient under observation and is an important step in raising attention to a complex and critical issue.

"We are grateful to Rep. Shawn Harrison for sponsoring this legislation and to members of the committee for their bipartisan support of this important issue," said Emmett Reed, FHCA Executive Director. "Many of the residents cared for in skilled nursing centers come from the hospital, often needing rehabilitative or restorative care before they are ready to return home. This legislation will ensure they are properly informed and will help protect them from serious financial burdens."

In testimony, Rep. Harrison noted that "this bill is about transparency and protecting our seniors." Organizations standing in support of the bill included the AARP and the Florida Life Care Resident Association (FLiCRA). 

"Rep. Harrison is to be commended for working with hospital and long term care providers, as well as consumers groups, to ensure beneficiaries understand what is happening to them. We look forward to him developing a bill that all can agree are in the best interest of the patient," said Reed.

Monday, March 2, 2015

FHCA Launches ENGAGE Long Term Care Advocacy Website

Florida's 2015 legislative session begins tomorrow, March 3. To help keep long term care advocates informed and engaged throughout the process, Florida Health Care Association has launched the ENGAGE LTC Advocacy website to help monitor legislation and track the issues that impact your center, your residents and your staff.
FHCA's ENGAGE LTC Advocacy website provides information about FHCA's 2015 legislative priorities and resources to help with becoming an effective long term care advocate. Learn more about our initiatives to restore Medicaid funding, make improvements to Medicaid managed long term care and protect seniors from unexpected medical bills. Visitors will also find informative issue briefs with helpful talking points to help you communicate key messages.

Visit the site often to follow the bills we're monitoring which have an impact on long term care providers and residents. When we need a call to action, we'll post "Take Action" alerts, which gives advocates an opportunity to have their voice heard. The user-friendly system allows visitors to enter their zip code to identify their state lawmakers and send a message urging them to vote for or against a legislative issue. FHCA's social media feeds, including Facebook posts and Twitter updates, along with a link to this Capitol Connection legislative blog, are also available to help keep advocates informed about our grassroots activity.

Click here to access FHCA's ENGAGE LTC Advocacy website today to become an effective advocate for long term care.