Thursday, April 23, 2015

Long Term Care Legislation Heads to Governor's Desk

We're just one week out from what should be the scheduled May 1st end of the 2015 legislative session. If you've been following FHCA's updates or reading the news, however, you know that a resolution on the budget is unlikely. This means the Legislature will either have to extend the regular session or return to Tallahassee for a special session to work out the budget.

Despite the stall in budget negotiations, long term care priorities continue to advance. We're pleased to report that hospital admission status legislation is on its way to the Governor's desk after the Senate passed HB 309 by Rep. Shawn Harrison (R-63)/Sen. Don Gaetz (R-1) today. We're thankful to Rep. Harrison and Sen. Gaetz for taking up this important issue which will help ensure seniors are properly informed and protected from serious financial burdens.

SB 332 by Sen. Denise Grimsley (R-21) is also ready for the Governor's signature. The Legislature passed this long term care-friendly bill, which gives providers flexibility when choosing the pneumococcal vaccine for nursing center residents by eliminating the specific name brand from the regulation.

SB 7018 relating to the State Ombudsman Program has passed out of the House and is also heading to the Governor. This bill revises the operating structure and internal procedures of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and improves the Governor's Gold Seal process.

FHCA will continue its advocacy on behalf of long term care providers and residents, emphasizing the important connection between adequate Medicaid funding and high-quality care. Stay tuned for more updates on legislative advances and the state budget impasse.

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