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Patti Spears Named 2017 Arthur H. Harris Government Services Award Recipient

Labelle Administrator Honored for Resident/Caregiver Advocacy Efforts

August 10, 2017
Contact: Kristen Knapp
(850) 701-3530 or kknapp@fhca.org

Tallahassee, FL – Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) recently honored Patti Spears, administrator of Oakbrook Health and Rehabilitation Center in Labelle, Florida, with the Association’s 2016 Arthur H. Harris Government Services Award. Spears accepted the prestigious award in front of over 800 long term care professionals gathered during the FHCA 2017 Annual Conference in Orlando. The Award is given annually to an FHCA member who actively engages in the Association’s legislative initiatives and advocates on behalf of the profession and long term care residents at the state and federal levels.

Spears has always had a passion for advocacy and action. She began her career as a social worker, and at that time held numerous leadership positions within her professional association to help raise awareness about the important role a social worker plays in the resident’s care. After earning her nursing home administrator license, Spears went on to manage several high-quality centers. After serving in FHCA’s Florida Leaders program in 2010, Spears began taking every opportunity she could to give back to the Association, from serving as district president to regularly attending Lobby Wednesdays. But, inspired by her residents and the need to give them a voice, she wanted to do more.  

With a set of legislative priorities that would require tremendous member support, Spears took action like never before. When FHCA needed someone to testify before a legislative committee on the challenges caregivers face operating in a Managed Care environment, Spears immediately said yes. When FHCA needed a spokesperson to talk to the press, including a live, radio call in show, Spears jumped at the opportunity. When someone was needed to meet with their lawmakers at the Capitol, Spears spoke eloquently and enthusiastically about the issues. And when FHCA needed help at the district level – from facility tours to bringing residents to district offices – Spears did not hesitate. You saw her face many times on Facebook, including the Prospective Payment System Facebook Live Event at the Capitol.

The Arthur H. Harris Government Services Award is given to annually to an FHCA member for his or her dedication to the Association’s legislative efforts which result in positive outcomes for long term care residents and caregivers. The late Arthur H. Harris was FHCA President from 1975-76 and was known his steadfast advocacy for important long term care issues, including resident care, adequate reimbursement and a fair and balanced regulatory system.


Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) is a federation that serves nearly 1,000 members and represents over 500 long term care facilities providing skilled nursing, post-acute and sub-acute care, short-term rehab, assisted living and other services to the frail elderly and individuals with disabilities in Florida. The mission of FHCA is to advance the quality of services, image, professional development and financial stability of its members. As Florida's first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the elders they serve, the Association has worked diligently since 1954 to assist its members with continuously improving quality of care and quality of life for the state’s growing elder care population. For more information about the Florida Health Care Association, visit http://www.fhca.org.

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