Medicaid is focus for Florida Health Care Association

Restoring Medicaid funding, improving Medicaid managed long-term care and protecting seniors from unexpected medical bills are the three legislative priorities set by the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) for 2015, the organization has announced.

More than 60 percent of the state’s 73,000 residents of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) depend on Medicaid to cover the cost of their long-term healthcare needs, and another 20 percent rely on Medicare funding. Florida’s SNFs have experienced more than $700 million in Medicaid reductions since 2008, the FHCA says.

“As Florida’s skilled nursing centers prepare to meet the needs of aging baby boomers, it’s important we modernize our aging buildings, enhance our technologies and continue placing focus on a more person-centered environment,” FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed said. “Adequate funding opens the door to so many necessary options and will enable our centers to continue making strides in quality care.”

The FHCA will ask the legislature to restore Medicaid funding for nursing center care as a top priority this session.

The organization also is calling for the legislature to review the state’s Medicaid managed care system. Florida’s SNF residents are experiencing a lack of coordination of care as a result of having two separate plans, one for long-term care and another for their traditional healthcare needs, according to the FHCA. “Our hope is that the legislature will review the system to ensure residents who rely on Medicaid are receiving the appropriate access to care,” Reed said.

FHCA is also supporting SB 768 and HB 309, which aim to educate consumers regarding their hospital admission status. Older adults often are unaware that Medicare will not cover the cost of follow-up rehabilitative care in a SNF if the hospital classifies them under “observation status” rather than admitting them as in-patient during their stay, the FHCA says.

“Many of the residents cared for in skilled nursing centers come from the hospital, often needing rehabilitative or restorative care before they are ready to return home,” Reed said. “This legislation will ensure that they are properly informed about their hospital admission status and help protect them from serious financial burdens.”

Topics: Medicare/Medicaid