TAKE ACTION TODAY - Ask Gov. DeSantis to preserve the Medicaid rate increase for nursing center care included in the 2020-2021 state budget.
The Florida Legislature included a funding increase for nursing centers’ inflationary cost increases during the 2020 session (HB 5001 - $28.6M General Revenue) to ensure Florida’s frail elders continue receiving the high-quality, long term care they expect and need. Governor DeSantis is expected to act on the 2020-2021 state budget any day, and FHCA needs your help to ensure he signs a budget that retains that much-needed Medicaid funding increase for nursing center care. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Florida’s nursing centers makes the need for this funding even greater to ensure the health, safety and well-being of Florida's nearly 70,000 nursing center residents.
Currently, Florida's nearly 700 nursing centers are operating with 2016 reimbursement rates, losing over $27.25 per day to care for each Medicaid resident before providers began experiencing cost increases associated with COVID-19.
- Increased COVID-19 costs are resulting from add-on pay for caregivers and other staff, personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional infection control supplies, as well as dietary and housekeeping costs needed to keep residents and staff.
- Centers are contracting with staffing agencies to meet resident care needs, as staff find themselves unable to work due to exposure.
- Pay for contracted caregivers are more than double the average employee wage that centers would traditionally pay. Centers have also increased caregiver wages to retain current employees, including hazard pay and increased overtime.
- Costs have also increased as a result of added staff needed for screening and restricting visitors and employees, meeting residents’ individualized needs resulting from communal dining and activities being prohibited, more frequent monitoring of residents’ symptoms, and additional cleaning and infection preventative practices.
Nursing centers’ COVID-19 costs will continue to rise, even after this pandemic stabilizes for the rest of the population. While Florida’s curve for hospital admissions has plateaued, Florida nursing centers continue to see increases in the number of residents and staff testing positive for COVID-19. This is a result of the virus’ ability to be transmitted through asymptomatic carriers. Nursing centers are expected to be monitoring and caring for residents with COVID-19 for many months to come.
Florida is a national leader in quality, and residents are experiencing better health outcomes and improved quality of life. Funding must keep up with inflation or Florida’s quality gains are at risk.
Signing a budget that retains the needed Medicaid rate increase for nursing center care will support providers as they work to help flatten the COVID-19 curve and protect our state’s seniors and most vulnerable. At the same time, this funding will ensure Florida seniors have access to a viable long-term care system that delivers the quality nursing center care they have come to expect and deserve, now and well into the future.