Tuesday, March 28, 2017

House and Senate Budgets Released: Medicaid Funding for Nursing Center Care Preserved

The House and Senate Health Care Appropriations Subcommittees released their proposed budgets today. There are no reductions to Medicaid funding for nursing center care in either proposal. This is good news for members and a result of long term caregivers' efforts to educate legislators about the importance of appropriately funding the high-quality care delivered each day.

The Senate budget includes language directing the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to implement the Medicaid Prospective Payment System (PPS) with all of FHCA's recommendations and the additional funding necessary for transition. At this time, the House budget does not include language implementing the PPS. The proposed House budget reduces the nursing center resident personal needs allowance from $105 to $70 per month, but there is no reduction in the Senate budget.

In addition, the House and Senate budgets both provide for additional funding to serve Medicaid recipients on the Home and Community-Based Services waiting list and additional PACE slots. It should be noted that under both budget proposals, hospitals are subject to large funding cuts - $621 million in the House and $258 million in the Senate.

The budget is one of several priorities the team at FHCA is actively working. Yesterday we saw success on the managed care priority as Senate bill 682 passed out of the Senate Health Policy Committee. The bill allows nursing center residents to be exempted out of managed care after 60 days in a center, creates fines if a managed care company does not timely pay a nursing center, and requires a 1 year any willing provider for plans entering a new area of the state. Though heavily lobbied against by the managed care organizations and AHCA, the bill passed 6-1.
We're nearing the halfway point of the 2017 session, and there is still much work to be done. FHCA wants to remind members that the budgeting process still has a long way to go, as both chambers must agree on a final budget for the session to formally adjourn.

As budget negotiations between the House and Senate continue to unfold in the coming weeks and our priorities of Certificate of Need, managed care and the PPS progress, FHCA needs members' active involvement to be a strong voice at the Capitol. We look forward to seeing more long term caregivers in Tallahassee over the next few weeks for Lobby Wednesdays and appreciate members' support when asked to take action from back home. 

In the meantime, rest assured the FHCA staff and lobby team will continue working tirelessly on members' behalf so the focus can remain on residents and the quality care Florida's long term care providers are delivering.

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