Nursing Home Group priorities of the Florida Health Care Association discussed the group’s priorities for the 2018 legislative session before it began. Their list included topics like generator requirements and increased Medicaid funding.
For the 2018 legislative session, the Florida Health Care Association planned to request that lawmakers earmark more money to care for Medicaid-funded residents and protection of the Certificate of Need process which restricts the overall number of nursing homes in Florida.
Nursing Home Group Priorities Targets Generators Needed to Handle Emergencies
After last September’s Hurricane Irma resulted in several deaths at a Broward County nursing home, long-term care facilities have gained attention for their emergency procedures.
The state and industry groups have been fighting in court over proposed state rules that would require nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to have generators and fuel supplies so that their buildings will stay cool during power outages.
Florida Health Care Association chief lobbyist Bob Asztalos commented that the cost to retrofit all nursing homes will vary drastically at each location based on the size and age of a building. Asztalos would like to see additional state funding to help satisfy the generator requirement.
“Our hope is that we can work, the governor and us together, and get to a place on the rule and resolve this through the rulemaking process,” said Asztalos. “If not, we will work with Democrats, Republicans, the House and Senate to try to get legislation.”
FHCA wants the state legislature to approve generator rules recently promulgated by the Agency for Health Care Administration and Department of Elder Affairs. These rules also ensure vulnerable seniors are kept safe during emergencies by bolstering resident-focused procedures to make certain that their health and well-being is watched during disasters.
The result from the just closed session and signed by the Governor was a new requirement in law for all nursing homes to have generators for air conditioners in place with fuel by July 1, 2018. The fuel requirement was for at least 72 hours. For assisted living facilities with 17 or more beds the requirement is for 48 hours of fuel.
Quality Long Term Care for Frail Elders and Those with Disabilities
Another nursing home group priority of FHCA is also asking state lawmakers to support a Senate’s budget increase of $130.4 million in Medicaid funding for skilled nursing centers to improve the quality of long-term care for infirm seniors and individuals with disabilities.
That request includes $8.4 million in General Revenue to offset Medicaid costs of equipping centers with generators over a three-year payback period, as well as $22.7 million General Revenue for increased direct care spending for recruiting and retaining qualified caregivers under the Prospective Payment System (PPS), and $17.7 million General Revenue for increased quality incentives under the PPS.
The result from the just-finished legislative session and signed by the Governor was indeed a $130 million increase in Medicaid funding for nursing homes. Seems like a victory for their efforts to enact their nursing home group priorities this year.
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