Senate Committee Recommends Fiscally Conservative Nursing Home Plan

by | Mar 30, 2017

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Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services sent budget recommendations to the full Appropriations Committee that included a revised prospective payment plan for nursing home reimbursements. The Senate’s revised plan makes changes to the Navigant recommendation “and has gained support amongst the industry because it would benefit their residents” per Chair Flores.

The Senate’s plan incentivizes quality goals that aim to improve staffing ratios and other measures focused on better health outcomes for seniors. Long-term care providers would receive incentives to make renovations and improvements that enhance residents’ quality of life. Proponents say the Senate’s plan would be phased in over three years in an effort to give care centers time to properly plan for the changes while still delivering quality care.

Those pushing for reimbursement reform say the current system lacks budget predictability and does nothing to encourage quality enhancements or improvements to facilities and infrastructure. Critics of the Senate plan say that the highest-rated care centers will lose money under the system, while underperforming centers will gain. But Emmett Reed, executive director of the Florida’s largest association of nursing homes, the Florida Health Care Association, disagrees.

“FHCA and our more than 550 members have championed the cause to improve quality for more than 60 years,” Emmett said. “We strongly support the Senate PPS plan because it changes reimbursement in a way that incentivizes high-quality outcomes for long term care residents.”

Reed noted that the vast majority of nursing homes support the reimbursement reforms, as FHCA represents 82% of all nursing homes in Florida. The Senate PPS plan will invest an additional $26 million in four and five star nursing homes and drive improvements in lower performing facilities. The plan will increase accountability and enhance return on the state’s investment in nursing home care by ensuring that money is spent on direct care and quality improvements.

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