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

Advocates for long term care promote nursing home quality, protections needed in Medicaid reform to State Legislature

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

Almost 100 long term care professionals from across Florida are in Tallahassee today to advocate for the preservation of nursing home quality care as lawmakers advance their Medicaid reform bills and budget proposals begin to unfold. Administrators, Nurses, Activity Coordinators and other direct care workers will discuss with lawmakers the importance of delaying the long term care implementation under the House managed care bill, which would allow time to ensure important protections are in place to preserve the steady improvements that have been made in delivering quality nursing home care over the past 10 years. 

“Florida’s nursing homes are efficient and deliver quality care to the state’s most vulnerable seniors,” said Emmett Reed, Executive Director of the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), the state’s first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the frail elders they serve. “We cannot resolve the state’s budget challenges on the backs of Florida’s nursing home residents - our Greatest Generation - lest we limit access for seniors turning to Florida for quality long term care services in the future.”

These senior care advocates will also address the current proposed Medicaid funding cuts, which amount to $141 million in the Senate and $200 million in the House. With nearly 70 percent of nursing home operating costs directed toward staffing, reductions of this level put quality care at risk. Other important proposals under consideration include the importance of meaningful tort reform to saving taxpayer dollars and enhancing senior care, as well as streamlining regulations and eliminating conflicting demands on valuable front-line caregivers who are spending time on unnecessary and duplicative processes, while at the same time giving regulators more time to spend on meaningful reviews of provider services.

Representatives from Cypress Health Group, which manages 18 skilled nursing facilities in Florida, Activity Professionals from across the state, along with long term care professionals from FHCA’s Districts XIII in the Okeechobee/St. Lucie area, are in Tallahassee as part of FHCA’s Lobby Wednesdays. This weekly grassroots initiative will bring nearly 400 long term care professionals to Tallahassee over the course of the 2011 legislative session.

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.

# # #