- Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) wants a $311 million increase in Medicaid funding from the Legislature to reward quality improvements and help providers with inflationary costs.
- FHCA is also asking the Legislature to support policies to ensure a pipeline of caregivers for the growing number of seniors requiring regular treatment.
- The group further supports legislation that would authorize a new level of qualified health care professionals, known as Qualified Medication Aides, to administer appropriate medications to residents.
The Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), which represents more 700 nursing centers and assisted living facilities in Florida, outlined its legislative priorities for the upcoming Regular Session, which includes an increase in Medicaid funding.
FHCA is asking for a $311 million increase in Medicaid funding from the Legislature, which would reward providers for specified quality improvements through a 4 percent increase in the quality incentive portion of Medicaid funds.
According to the group, this increase would help providers keep up with the inflationary costs of delivering care and lead to higher quality care and better resident outcomes.
Amid an acute shortage of healthcare professional in the state, FHCA is also asking the Legislature to support policies to help establish and ensure a pipeline of caregivers to meet the needs of the state’s gowing number of seniors requiring regular treatment.
FHCA further supports legislation that would authorize a new level of qualified health care professionals, known as Qualified Medication Aides, to administer appropriate medications to residents.
According to Emmett Reed, FHCA’s CEO, the legislation could help strengthen workforce retention and alleviate shortages by increasing nurses’ overall job satisfaction and creating pathways for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) to earn higher wages and broaden their career opportunities in nursing.
CNAs with at least one year of experience would be eligible for additional training to become a Qualified Medication Aide, helping to boost upward job mobility for these frontline caregivers.
FHCA is also working to educate the Legislature about the importance of bringing equity to the long-term care sector and the impact that the “sue-to-settle” climate has on operations, as it claims that lawsuits divert resources necessary for investing in quality and damage staff morale.
“The investments we make now will help us forge ahead toward our goals of improving quality, strengthening our workforce, and ensuring that our state’s seniors and people with disabilities have access to the high-quality care they need, today and into the future,” said Reed. “We look forward to working with policymakers on advancing these solutions to improve the lives of the thousands of Floridians who receive long-term or post-acute care in our member facilities every day.”
FHCA’s priorities center on improving care delivery within nursing homes that affect the health outcomes of short- and long-stay residents. According to the group, more than 65 percent of nursing centers have a 4- or 5-star rating from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Additionally, 75 percent of centers have earned one or more quality recognition, such as Joint Commission accreditation or a Baldrige-based National Quality Award.