Florida’s Advocate for Long Term Care
Providers and the Elders They Serve

Tallahassee Area Elderly/Caregivers Sign Petition Urging Florida Congressional Delegation to Protect Medicare and Medicaid

CONTACT: Kristen Knapp, APR
(850) 701-3530 or (850) 510-4389 cell; kknapp@fhca.org

Effective July 1, Tallahassee Area Seniors Will See a  Combined $2 Million Reduction to State Medicaid Funding for Nursing Home Care As U.S. Congress Debates Entitlement Reform and Deficit Reduction Options – Seniors/Caregivers Urge Them Preserve Adequate Medicare- Medicaid Funding at Federal Level

WHEN: Friday, July 1, 2011
10:30 a.m.

WHERE:  Brynwood Center
1656 S Jefferson Street, Monticello, FL
(850) 997-1800

Lisa McGinley, Administrator, Brynwood Center
Barbara Kirksey, Nurse, Brynwood Center
Diana Mahoney, Brynwood Resident
Cheryl Fralick, Brynwood Family Member
Rep. Leonard Bembry (D-10)
Sen. Bill Montford (Invited)

Tallahassee, FL — Long term care providers and caregivers from nursing homes around the Tallahassee area will hold a news conference and petition signing on Friday, July 1, at 10:30 a.m. at Brynwood Center -- a five-star skilled nursing center in Monticello that serves up to 90 patients and residents from the surrounding Tallahassee area. As the U.S. Congress debates entitlement reform and deficit reduction options, the purpose of the gathering is to urge federal lawmakers to preserve funding for seniors in light of the State Legislature’s recent $187.5 million cut to Medicaid funding for nursing home care that will take effect July 1. Providers and caregivers represent the Florida Health Care Association and the national Coalition to Protect Senior Care, respectively.

Tallahassee area skilled nursing facilities are warning of the growing cumulative squeeze that state Medicaid and federal Medicare funding will place on their ongoing ability to meet the growing care needs of Florida’s elderly. As a result of state budget cuts passed during 2011 legislative session, long term care facilities in the Tallahassee area will see their Medicaid reimbursement rates reduced by more than $2 million annually when the 2011-12 state budget takes effect July 1. Brynwood will see a $294,570 annual reduction.

Statewide, the 6.5 percent ($187.5 million) cut to nursing home Medicaid funding amounts to an average reduction of $288,932 annually per facility or $12.07 per Medicaid patient day, leaving 40 percent of nursing homes to operate in the red unless significant reductions to operating expenses are made.

With skilled nursing care playing an important role in our state’s economic recovery, creating over 259,000 jobs, the negative impact of inadequate funding could trigger significant job losses, given that 70 percent of nursing home costs pay for the people working in facilities. Caregivers from the area will stress the direct threat these cuts will have on staffing and the jobs of the frontline caregivers who make a key difference in patient quality outcomes. 

Historically, Medicare has been forced to fill the gap when Medicaid does not adequately fund the needs of nursing home patients. Besides addressing the challenges the Medicaid funding cuts will have on nursing home care in Florida, caregivers, residents and their family members will sign a 10 foot petition urging federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to “preserve, protect and defend adequate Medicare and Medicaid funding as the vital national discussion surrounding federal entitlement funding unfolds throughout 2011 and 2012.”

The Coalition to Protect Senior Care (CPSC), a national coalition of health care assistants, long-term care nurses, certified nursing assistants and others who deliver round-the-clock, front-line care to seniors and caregivers at Brynwood Center, in conjunction with Florida Health Care Association, which represents Brynwood along with over 500 of Florida’s long term care facilities, will discuss how any further reductions in Medicaid and Medicare would impact Florida seniors, its caregiver community, and long term care businesses that support the state’s economic recovery.

Among the Coalition to Protect Senior Care membership are: American Association for Long Term Care Nursing (AALTCN) • Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care • American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) • American Health Care Association (AHCA)/Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) • American Health Quality Association (AHQA) • American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) • American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)  • American Society of Health Care Administration Executives (ASHCAE) • Coalition of Women in Long Term Care (COWL) • National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA)• National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL) • National Rural Health Association  • Senior Clinician Group 

# # #