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Florida Skilled Nursing Facilities Among Best in Nation in New Nursing Home Report Card

Facilities given high marks for ongoing commitment to resident quality care

September 10, 2014
Contact: Kristen Knapp, APR
(850) 701-3530 or kknapp@fhca.org

Tallahassee, Fla. – Skilled nursing facilities in Florida are among the very best in the nation, earning an overall superior grade of “A” in the state-by-state Nursing Home Report Card released this week. The report card gave its highest praise to Florida’s facilities for their direct care staffing hours and fewest verified ombudsman complaints. Overall Florida had the highest ranking in the nation, other than four small New England states and Delaware, in the report from Families for Better Care.

The organization, a frequent critic of skilled nursing care in Florida and elsewhere, compiled data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that sets and enforces standards for skilled nursing facilities (also referred to as nursing homes). Florida jumped to #6 in the nation in the annual report, up from the state’s ranking of #11 last year.

“Even our harshest critics have no choice but to acknowledge that Florida’s nursing facilities are among the best in the nation, providing exceptional care to their residents,” said Emmett Reed, Executive Director of Florida Health Care Association. “Behind Florida’s A grade is an unyielding commitment to improved clinical care, self-imposed quality initiatives and nurses who spend more time with residents. All of this translates into outstanding care and a better quality of life for Florida’s seniors and individuals with disabilities.”

Among the findings of the Nursing Home Report Card are:
•    Florida was fourth-best in the nation in the number of verified ombudsman complaints, maintaining its “A” grade while improving from last year’s #7 ranking.
•    Florida maintained its “A” grade in Direct Care Staffing Hours, ranking #8 in the nation
•    In the number of facilities with severe deficiencies, Florida remained among the best in the nation – earning an “A” grade and improving to #5, up from #7 last year – and improved slightly in the number of facilities with any deficiencies, up to #23
•    Florida showed significant improvement professional nursing hours per student, jumping 20 places to be ranked #24 and improving two letter grades on the “report card”
•    Direct Care Staffing improved to #23 in the nation, up from last year’s #25

The Nursing Home Report Card utilizes staffing data compiled by the Kaiser Health Foundation, performance measures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare and complaint data from the Office of State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

While the Nursing Home Report Card system gives Florida’s skilled nursing facilities an overall superior grade of “A,” FHCA reminds consumers that rankings are not a precise indicator of whether a specific facility is right for an individual needing care. To assist Floridians with exploring their long term care options, FHCA recently launched the ElderCareFlorida.com website. The site offers details of various care options available to aging Floridians, as well as information for dealing with such issues of aging as memory loss, depression and falls. The site also provides a forum for Floridians to share their experiences with others who may be contemplating the same choices.

“Nursing facilities across Florida are known for their expertise and experience in providing high quality care, and you can see it when you walk through the doors,” Reed continued. “Gathering information and visiting a nursing facility is really the best way to determine the appropriate fit for each individual requiring long term care.”

Key Facts about Florida Quality Improvements
•    More than 60 percent of Florida’s skilled nursing facilities have an overall four- or five-star rating
•    Florida has one of the highest staffing ratios (certified nursing assistant to resident/patient ratio) in the country. More than 60 percent of Florida’s facilities boast a four- or five-star rating in staffing - the nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, therapists and others delivering quality care to residents.
•    Customer satisfaction remains high among residents and their families (85 percent).
•    In 2013, Florida’s skilled nursing facilities achieved the highest number of National Quality Awards than any other state (award criteria is based on the Malcolm Baldrige criteria for performance excellence).
•    Facilities are enrolled in the National Quality Initiative, a challenge to all FHCA members to meet specific, measurable targets in hospital readmissions, staff stability, customer satisfaction and the off-label use of antipsychotics.
•    More than 75 percent of FHCA member nursing facilities are enrolled in the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes Campaign.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014, the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) is a federation which serves nearly 1,000 members and represents over 500 long term care facilities that provide 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 elderly 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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