Friday, February 26, 2016

FHCA Provider Program - Final Lobby Wednesday of 2016 Session

FHCA wrapped up its final Lobby Wednesday this week with participation from almost 100 members from Opis Senior Services Group, Summit Care and Page Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center. Hear from family members, volunteers and caregivers all working to advocate for long term care.

Friday, February 19, 2016

FHCA Provider Program - Members Advocate to Preserve CON

Members from Consulate Health Care, Signature HealthCARE, FHCA Districts IX and XIII and co-sponsor Cotler Healthcare and Development travel to Tallahassee to advocate for preserving Certificate of Need for nursing centers as part of our Lobby Wednesdays. Watch highlights from their visits and FHCA's active role in the debate as a Senate Committee votes down the bill which would have resulted in unmanaged growth and instability in the nursing center sector.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

FHCA Thanks Senators for CON Vote Helping Elders

FHCA is pleased to report the Certificate of Need deregulation bill (SB 1144) died in the Senate Health & Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee today. This is good news for long term care providers, as this bill would have weakened Certificate of Need reforms that went into effect just two years ago.
FHCA is thankful to our members for your swift action over these past two weeks. You sent nearly 4,000 emails, made phone calls, helped extend our social media/digital campaign and traveled to Tallahassee to discuss the CON issue in person as part of our Lobby Wednesdays.
Today alone, over 60 members arrived at the Capitol early to meet with members of the Senate Committee and the bill sponsor, Sen. Don Gaetz, to discuss the challenges that could have come with deregulating CON. FHCA filled the room with members from Consulate Health Care, Districts IX and XIII, Signature HealthCARE and Lobby Wednesday co-sponsor Cotler Healthcare and Development, with many of those individuals standing in opposition to the bill. Additionally, FHCA Legislative Committee Vice Chair Kathy Gallin of Signature HealthCARE testified on the association's behalf, expressing our concerns. Your tremendous grassroots activity, combined with the hard work of FHCA's Government Affairs team, made the difference.
In the end, we are thankful to Senate leadership, Sen. Don Gaetz, Chairman Rene Garcia and the members of the Senate Subcommittee for taking time to meet with us, answer our emails/calls, hear our concerns and carefully consider what is best for our state's seniors and you, our members, who provide their care.
Just a few weeks remain until the 2016 session comes to an end. Our work is not yet done, as we continue urging the House to add the repeal of the Medicaid rate freeze into its final budget (the Senate budget already contains the repeal language). Look for more information and an opportunity to convey this message to your Representative in an upcoming alert.
For now, we want to thank you again for your ongoing support of our legislative activity. FHCA is proud to advocate on your behalf.

Friday, February 12, 2016

FHCA Provider Program - Progress on CON/Gold Seal Priorities

At the midpoint of the 2016 session, FHCA Executive Director reports on progress to stall Certificate of Need deregulation legislation and the passage of the Gold Seal Award bill. Also highlighted are FHCA members in town for Lobby Wednesdays, including Airamid Health Services, Genesis Healthcare, Southern Healthcare Management and DOS Healthcare, along with Lobby Wednesday sponsor, Cotler Healthcare & Development.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gold Seal Award Bill Heads to Governor

Today, HB 127/ SB 542 by Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland)/ Rep. Travis Cummings (R-Orange Park) passed out of the Senate and is on its way to the Governor for signature. As we've been reporting, the bill streamlines financial reporting for nursing center Gold Seal applicants, allowing them the option to submit a consolidated financial statement when applying for the Governor's Gold Seal Award. FHCA caught up with Sen. Thad Altman (R-Melbourne), a proponent of the bill, who acknowledged the importance of advancing this legislation. Click here to watch.
Florida Health Care Association members are dedicated to delivering the highest quality care to Florida's nursing center residents. Of the 32 Gold Seal Award recipients in Florida, 19 are FHCA members. The Association brought this concept to Sen. Stargel and Rep. Cummings last fall, when many of our centers expressed concern over the complex process involved with applying for this prestigious award.
A 2016 legislative priority for FHCA, the Association and its members have been actively working with lawmakers to educate them about the importance of this issue. At the midway point of the 2016 legislative session, we're pleased to report victory with the successful passage of this bill.  When signed by the Governor, nurses, aides and thousands of other long term care professionals will have another opportunity to be recognized for the important work they do in providing exceptional care to seniors and people with disabilities in Florida's nursing centers.

Certificate of Need Bill Stalls in Committee

FHCA is pleased to report the Certificate of Need deregulation bill (SB 1144 by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-1) stalled in the Senate Health & Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee today where it was temporarily postponed by the Senate sponsor. This is great progress for long term care providers, as this bill will weaken Certificate of Need reforms that FHCA strongly advocated for in 2014. As we've been reporting, the bill creates an exemption to the Certificate of Need statute for nursing centers, hospice and hospitals. The resulting effects include unmanaged growth, lower occupancy rates and reduced investments needed for resident care.
There is still much work to be done, but this initial progress is the result of the quick action by our members - both here in Tallahassee and from back home. In addition, the strength of our Government Affairs team and the extensive reach of our grassroots initiatives put the CON issue front and center among key Senate leaders. Here's a snapshot of what we've been able to accomplish in just a few days time: 
  • YOU TOOK ACTION: Members sent nearly 3,000 e-mails to Senators urging them to oppose this bill. Our advocacy partner, Our Florida Promise, also made phone calls to Senate leadership and select members of the Senate Committee to convey the challenges this bill would impose upon nursing centers.
  • YOU SHOWED UP: Our Lobby Wednesdays have already brought over 350 members to Tallahassee to discuss CON with their legislators - more than 100 in the past week alone - including owners, executives, administrators and frontline caregivers.
  • WE CAME PREPARED: FHCA Past President Deborah Franklin and investment representatives came ready to testify this morning, with FHCA President Joe Mitchell and other members filling the room. Their presence and preparation helped add pressure to Committee members and the bill sponsor.
  • WE WENT VIRAL: FHCA's extensive reach on social media and digital channels helped put the CON issue in front of more than 4,000 key advocates, as well as legislators and other political influencers.
As we hit the midpoint of the 2016 session, it's imperative we keep up the momentum to push back against this bill. Senators will continue discussions, and we must ensure our voices are heard. Removing nursing centers from SB 1144 will remain the focal point of our upcoming Lobby Wednesdays over the next two weeks. Our digital advocacy campaign will continue so our messages stay in front of lawmakers and other influencers. And, if you haven't already done so, please take time to send an e-mail to your Senator and urge them to oppose this bill. 
As always, FHCA wants to thank you for your ongoing support and advocacy on this issue. We will continue to fight on your behalf and keep you informed.

Friday, February 5, 2016

FHCA Provider Program - Gulf Coast Health Care Takes on Capitol

Watch highlights from Gulf Coast Health Care Lobby Wednesday and hear about important action alerts related to Certificate of Need and Medicaid funding in the 2016 legislative budget.