Protecting 2020-2021 Medicaid funding increase, COVID liability protections and workforce support top the agenda
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Health Care Association, which represents nearly 700 nursing homes and assisted living facilities across Florida, today released its 2021 legislative priorities for long term care. Topping the list of priorities are protecting the 2020-2021 Medicaid funding increase, enacting COVID liability protections for long term care, and addressing long term care centers’ workforce challenges by making the Personal Care Attendant Program permanent.
Florida’s long term care providers have faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic while protecting their residents, who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 due to advanced age, underlying medical conditions, and communal living arrangements.
Throughout the crisis, long term care providers continued to adjust their practices as they worked through a multitude of obstacles, including personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages, lack of timely and adequate testing, and guarding against an individual’s ability to spread the virus without signs or symptoms.
Personal protective equipment, infection control supplies, and overtime and heroes pay, along with physical plant upgrades to mitigate spread, represent significant cost increases for providers. Those increased expenses are exacerbated by a 15% drop in occupancy levels resulting from fewer elective surgeries and lack of admissions. Prior to COVID, Medicaid underfunded the cost of nursing center care by $13.79 per patient per day (over $337,000 per center annually); today, that funding gap continues to widen.
While Federal CARES Act funding has helped with some COVID-related expenses, more assistance is needed as the pandemic continues. FHCA will be urging lawmakers to protect the $105-million Medicaid funding increase in the state’s 2020-2021 budget to ensure that residents continue receiving the high-quality long term care they expect and need.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also created an environment ripe for opportunistic litigation. FHCA is advocating for COVID liability protections for long term care to ensure that providers can continue to operate and recover from the pandemic and keep their resources focused on resident care needs.
Read full article here: https://www.fhca.org/media_center/entry/fhca_unveils_2021_legislative_priorities