• 2015: A Year in Review


    Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) is the state's leading long term care advocacy association, representing more than 1,000 members and more than 500 centers that provide skilled nursing, post-acute and sub-acute care, short-term rehabilitation, assisted living and other services to the frail elderly and individuals with disabilities in Florida. Over the past year, FHCA faced new and recurring challenges. Yet, we continue to succeed as an Association because of our ability to stand united, with the increased support of membership and a clear direction from our volunteer leaders.

    Collectively, FHCA members and staff play a key role in the dialogue and development of solutions. We have and always will be a member-driven association that works together toward the common good for the residents and patients our members care for every day. Such was the case in 2015, and together with our Board of Directors, we are committed to ensuring 2016 is no different.

    J. Emmett Reed, CAE
    FHCA Executive Director

  • Membership in FHCA continues to steadily increase, with the Association representing nearly 80% of the state's nursing centers.


    Nursing Centers


    Assisted Living Communities


    Associate Members

  • Effective Advocates

    FHCA has a tremendous presence in Florida's Capitol, engaging in policy discussions that help shape the future of how long term care is delivered to our state's seniors. This, combined with successful grassroots advocacy initiatives and a strong political action program, has given FHCA members a united voice to carry message to lawmakers on the issues that matter most.

  • Building Relationships

    FHCA's Government Affairs team and our members were highly engaged with legislators throughout the year. Across the state, our grassroots activity supported the delivery of key messages through meetings in the district or extensive tours in member centers. Throughout the 2015 legislative session, long term care providers could be seen at Florida's Capitol in Tallahassee week after week, amplifying messages about the high-quality care being delivered to long term care residents.

    Lobby Wednesdays

    500 members traveled to Tallahassee - from frontline caregivers to administrators and owner/operators

    In-district Meetings and Center Tours

    165 + meetings and center tours with legislators and political candidates

    LTC Engage Advocacy Website

    In 2015, FHCA launched an extensive website to help members track legislation and connect with legislators during important Calls to Action

  • A Voice for the Profession

    The 2015 Florida legislative session made history, ending prematurely with the House and Senate at a stalemate over a new state budget and health care programs. The standstill during the regular session, however, did not affect FHCA's ability to pass legislation with a positive impact on long term care.

    Read more about FHCA's legislative accomplishments in the 2015 Legislative Scorecard

    Medicaid funding was successfully preserved, with the final budget containing no cuts to nursing center care and all estimated inflationary increases being fully funded

    Notification About Hospital Admission Status, protecting seniors from unexpected medical bills

    Updates to Florida's Ombudsman statute, which included a clarification that improved the Governor's Gold Seal application process

    Assisted Living Facility Reform, which gives the state broader authority to hold poor performing ALFs accountable while giving seniors and their families a greater assurance that they are being cared for in an environment that is safe and respects their ability to age with dignity

  • Regulatory Advocacy

    FHCA actively participates in the rule making process with the state and federal agencies, doing comprehensive research and gathering member feedback to offer informed comments on behalf of the profession.

    Our regulatory successes in 2015 included:

    Repealing the Board of Nursing Home Administration Rule 64B10-11.012.F.A.C., which eliminates notification to the BHNA when there is a change of an administrator (notification is only required to AHCA to eliminate redundancy)

    Influencing the CMS final rule over Staffing Data Collection and the language applied to non-direct care workers

    Spearheading Florida's response to the CMS Proposed Requirements of Participation Rule, adding FHCA members' comments to more than 8,500 submitted by the profession and offering a comprehensive proposal from the Association with more than 20 recommendations across dozens of operational areas

    Recommending new training requirements for the adoption of the expanded self-administration of medication tasks for assisted living communities

    Preparing members for CMS MDS/Staffing Focused Pilot Surveys, through information and education gleaned from state and national relationships

    Offering regulatory response and guidance on issues related to Medicaid Eligibility; Background Screening; Medicaid Managed Care and the related requirements to Home and Community-Based Services Waiver programs, as well as CMS' Quality Reporting, Value-Based Purchasing and more.

  • A Roadmap to Quality

    By offering solutions for delivering exceptional care and services, FHCA builds on the existing work of our members to further improve quality care in Florida's skilled nursing centers and assisted living communities.

  • AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program

    Florida is a leader in the National Quality Award Program conducted by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). In 2015, 51 FHCA members earned the Bronze - Commitment to Quality Award, 29 earned the Silver - Achievement in Quality Award and 1 member center took home the prestigious Gold - Excellence in Quality Award.

    This progressive, three-step initiative is based on criteria established by the prestigious Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. Participating facilities apply for recognition and awards at three levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold - with each level requiring a more detailed and comprehensive demonstration of systematic quality through measurable targets in eight areas with a focus on three key priorities: improvements in organizational success, short-stay/post-acute care, and long-term/dementia care.

    FHCA supported members' pursuit of the AHCA/NCAL Quality Awards through:

    Hands-On Workshops

    Regionally Offered to Pursue Bronze, Silver & Gold Quality Awards

    Quality Award Bootcamp

    A web-based mentoring program that provides one-on-one support, webinars, training and resources for Silver/Gold applicants

    AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards Earned by FHCA Members Since 2008


    Gold Awards


    Silver Awards


    Bronze Awards

  • Governor's Gold Seal Award


    FHCA members hold 16 of 26 Florida Governor Gold Seal Awards for Excellence in Long Term Care. The Gold Seal Award designates the best of the best, with requirements including quality of care standards that place a center in the top 10% (region) or top 15% (statewide). Gold Seal centers must also hold a Five Star Rating in the Nursing Home Guide, have participated in a consumer satisfaction process; and, among other standards, have an outstanding record with the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council.

    FHCA supported members with their Gold Seal pursuit through:

    • Legislative Advocacy to Enhance the Criteria to Improve the Gold Seal Application Process
    • Educational Training and Communication Tools about the Importance of Gold Seal and Application Process
  • Five Star Rating System

    Over 50% of Florida's nursing centers have a 4 or 5 star rating

    In February, CMS announced changes to the Five-Star Quality Rating System that impacted how CMS assigns stars for both the Staffing and Quality Measure components, which affected nursing center's Overall rating. CMS also added two new measures to the Quality Measure component: the short-stay antipsychotic measure and the long-stay antipsychotic measure that CMS has been using on Nursing Home Compare for the past several years.


    FHCA Five Star Support

    • In-Depth Analysis of Star Rating Outcomes in Florida, Including Statewide and Regional Trends for Member Evaluations and Benchmarking against Relevant Comparative Data
    • Trainings at the District Level to Help Members Understand the Impact of the Changes and How that Affects the Star Rating
    • Communication Tools and Access to Webinars
  • Meeting Our Goals

    The Long Term Care Profession sets measurable targets to improve quality care for residents and patients. FHCA supports members' in their continuous quality improvement with:

    • Informative Webinars and Clinical Discussion Groups
    • Educational Seminars, Statewide Trainings
    • Promising Practices Sharing via Communication Tools, Publications
    • Senior Clinician Quick Consults

    Antipsychotic Medication Reductions

    Florida has improved in its reduction of antipsychotic medication use, with its ranking moving up from 39th nationwide to 36th. In 2015, nursing centers decreased their use of antipsychotic medication to 22.8% among long-stay residents, putting them only 2.2% away from meeting the 2015 CMS target goal of a 25% or greater reduction.

  • Delivering Value

    Staying informed is critical for providers working to meet the challenges that come with operating in an ever-changing long term care environment. An extensive website and communication tools helped members stay current on important developments over the past year. FHCA also hosted a full schedule of continuing education programs and offered exceptional networking opportunities through our Annual Conference and other specialized trainings.

  • 2015 Annual Conference & Trade Show

    FHCA's 2015 Annual Conference & Trade Show brought together over 1,000 skilled nursing and assisted living professionals took part in this premier event to collaborate on the latest long term care developments and innovations and discuss proven quality care practices within the profession. The Conference included over 100 speakers presenting 65 educational sessions, a 285+booth Trade Show with business partners showcasing innovative products and services, award celebrations and networking events.

    Featured Speakers

    • Lou Holtz, legendary college football coach
    • Laura Schwartz, former White House Director of Event Planning under the Clinton Administration
    • Mark Parkinson, American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living President & CEO
    • Agency for Health Care Administration Assistant Deputy Secretary Health Quality Assurance Polly Weaver

    Click here to watch our highlight video.

  • Member Connections


    FHCA's professional development and networking events addressed specific requirements and timely content and fostered professional relationships. In 2015, more than 1,000 providers benefited from experts in the field sharing knowledge and resources on topics that were both specific to long term care and motivational and leadership oriented.

    Events Included

    • Nurse Leadership Program
    • ICD-10 Trainings
    • RAI-MDS 3.0 Intensive Certificate Program
    • Fall Symposium & Health Care Communications Pre-Sessions
    • Regional Education Seminars
    • Emergency Preparedness Tabletop Exercises


    FHCA offered free webinars exclusive to FHCA members in 2015 with topics focused on Antipsychotic Medication Use and Dementia Care, Medicaid Eligibility, Hurricane Preparedness, ICD-10 Transitioning, CMS MDS/Focused Surveys and more.

  • Online Resources

    Regulatory Tools

    FHCA developed visual tools to help nursing centers and assisted living communities navigate the long term care profession's complex regulatory environment. Medicaid eligibility, incident reporting and emergency preparedness were just a few of the topics addressed in 2015.

    LTC Emergency Preparedness Portal


    In 2015, FHCA launched the LTC Emergency Preparedness Portal as an online gateway to tools, resources and information on emergency preparedness topics specifically for skilled nursing and post-acute care centers. The website was a collaborative project between FHCA and Emory University's Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center, through the assistance of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Florida Department of Health's Bureau of Preparedness and Response.

  • Enhancing the Image

    The high-quality care being delivered by FHCA's member centers is often overlooked or underreported. FHCA works to enhance the image of the profession through digital campaigns and a number of outreach programs that honor Florida's elders, as well as recognize the providers who are committed to delivering exceptional care.

  • Digital Campaign


    To help educate and reach decision makers, FHCA launched a digital campaign to raise positive awareness about Florida's quality long term care options available to aging seniors.

    Resident, family member and caregiver videos shared stories and testimonials about the quality care being received in Florida's nursing centers.

    Key messages focused on:

    • Florida's nursing centers delivering high-quality care
    • Florida's nursing centers offering short-term therapy, helping patients heal and return home
    • Florida's nursing centers are providing vital care to individuals with Alzheimer's and other dementias

    FHCA members captured images as part of the Long Term Care Photo Contest to showcase the daily life, activities and loving care between residents, families and staff.

  • Recognizing Excellence

    FHCA recognizes nursing center and assisted living employees from around the state who demonstrate exemplary work within the profession.


    Walter M. Johnson, Jr. Circle of Excellence Award

    FHCA's highest honor is given annually to a member who has made significant contributions in the past year and has worked for the growth and development of the Association through the years.

    Nina Willingham, Life Care Center of Sarasota

    Click here to learn more about our 2015 Circle of Excellence Winner.

  • Celebrations

    Long Term Care Excellence Awards

    The annual FHCA Long Term Care Excellence Awards recognize the exemplary contributions of long term care leaders and volunteers who daily demonstrate commitment to quality care through their dedication to residents, staff, and the LTC profession.

    Click here to read more about our award recipients.

    Award Recipients

    • Nursing Center Administrator of the Year - Debra Wallace, Vista Manor
    • ALF Administrator of the Year - Linda McClamma, The Tradition of the Palm Beaches
    • Arthur H. Harris Government Services Award - Thomas Groesbeck, Airamid Health Services
    • Willis J. Gregson Associate Member of the Year - Yale Metz, Healthcare Services Group
    • Media & Community Involvement Award - Parkside Health and Rehabilitation Center
    • Adult Volunteer of the Year - Rev. Willie Brown, Riverwood Center
    • Group Volunteer of the Year - Fred & Judy O'Blenis and The Meadowbrook Church Small Group, Palm Garden of Ocala
  • Long Term Care Excellence in Nursing Awards

    FHCA's Long Term Care Excellence in Nursing Awards honor outstanding nurses for excelling in many varied areas of expertise: clinical practice, customer responsiveness, leadership and communication.

    • Nurse Administrator of the Year - Kathy Preusz, Quality Health of North Port
    • Registered Nurse of the Year - Cathy Allen, Life Care Center of Orange Park
    • Licensed Practical Nurse of the Year - Charlotte Merenda, Bay Breeze Health and Rehabilitation Center
    • Certified Nursing Assistant of the Year - Cynthia Hayes, Riverwood Center
    • Read more about our award recipients.
  • Developing the Future

    FHCA Florida Leaders

    FHCA's Florida Leaders program brings together an exclusive group of FHCA-member professionals chosen for their demonstrated leadership skills, support of the Association and an interest in pursuing leadership pathways to improve their personal and professional skills. In 2015, 15 members graduated from the program, with an additional 19 members embarking on the program for 2016.

    Supporting the Career Climb

    • FHCA granted 15 scholarships totaling $10,000 in 2015 to employees of member centers seeking to advance their long term care academic preparation.
    • Jessica Remmers, CNA with The Lodge Health & Rehabilitation Center, was honored with the 2015 CNA Essay Contest Top Prize. FHCA's CNA Essay Contest asks Certified Nursing Assistants working in FHCA member centers to draw from their personal experience and share their stories about how they have contributed to the exceptional care and services being delivered in their center.