Florida Center for Assisted Living

Opportunities & Challenges for Assisted Living Communities
By 2025, the proportion of Florida's population older than 65 years of age is expected to be 26% of our state's population (19% in 1995). This proportion is significantly greater than the projected national rate of 19.6% in 2030 and poses both challenges and opportunities for Florida's assisted living facilities. As assisted living facilities position themselves to serve this increasing older population, external pressures are forming which will influence regulatory policy and facility operations. Assisted living occupies a well-established niche in the long term care network, offering housing alternatives for older adults who may need assistance with dressing, bathing, taking medications, eating, and toileting, but do not need the concentrated nursing and medical care given in nursing homes. While not federally regulated, the assisted living community has been analyzed by national workgroups, scrutinized by consumer groups, assessed by lawyer groups, and legalized by state regulatory agencies.

On a national level, the Assisted Living Workgroup formed in 2001 at the request of Senator John Breaux asked assisted living stakeholders to develop recommendations to ensure consistent access to quality care for assisted living residents. 18 months later the group of consumer advocates, assisted living providers, health care professionals, aging organizations and regulatory agencies presented their recommendations U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.

A recent national collaboration of founding members consisting of lawyer groups seeks to improve assisted living facility services by overlaying federal controls and inspections on top of the state oversight.

In Florida, the Department of Elder Affairs has introduced new administrative law in 2006 affecting changes in assisted living facility definitions; license application, change of ownership and provisional licenses; license renewal and conditional licenses; licensing criteria; residency criteria and admission procedures; resident care standards; medication practices; staffing standards; resident elopement procedures; staff training requirements and competency test; physical plant standards; records; adverse incident reports; resident contracts; emergency management; limited mental health; extended congregate care services; limited nursing services; and administrative enforcement.

Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), the state's first and strongest advocate for long term care, has launched the Florida Center for Assisted Living (FCAL) which addresses these growing needs of assisted living providers. Through consumer information, professional development, public affairs, public policy advocacy, and networking opportunities FCAL provides a voice for the assisted living community. Our members enjoy a heightened level of support and responsiveness that can only come through years of collective experience and an understanding of what it means to be a member-driven organization.

We have been asked by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) to represent the assisted living profession in Florida. As our national affiliate, NCAL will be your partner too, when you join FCAL. You already know that a strong, united front carries the day when national issues are at stake. As a national policy leader, NCAL represents the assisted living community's legislative interests in Washington. NCAL is an active participant and serves on the Board of Directors of the newly created Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL). Learn more about membership in FCAL by visiting Member Benefits & Services.