During FHCA’s 2019 Annual Conference in Orlando, the Association recognized several individuals and organizations as part of the 2019 Long Term Care Achievement Awards. These recipients demonstrated leadership within the profession and a strong commitment to resident quality care and quality of life.
Arthur H. Harris Government Services Award
Cliff Bauer, Miami Jewish Health
Cliff Bauer is an active member of FHCA’s Legislative and Reimbursement Committees, a member of the FHC PAC Board and a leader with Our Florida Promise. He is known for bringing understanding and reason to discussions surrounding the political landscape. Cliff is engaged in legislative advocacy from one end of the state to the other. He recognizes the importance of being the voice for the long term care profession, whether that means coming to Tallahassee to lobby legislators, or showing them first hand through facility tours how their decisions impact the care being provided. From organizing P.P.S. Pep Rallies to testifying before the Constitution Revision Commission when harmful amendments were putting certificate of need and liability at risk, Cliff was there. When opportunities arise to educate a regulator, candidates or legislators about long term care, including our current Governor, Cliff is always available to advocate and educate about the quality care advances being made by providers.
Cliff was unable to attend the Annual Conference due to health reasons, so Jeffrey Freimark, President & CEO of Miami Jewish Health, accepted the award on his behalf.
Nursing Home Administrator of the Year
Connie Bend, Lakeside Nursing & Rehab
Connie Bend is a servant leader and a true champion for the long term care profession. For 36 years, she has been a nursing home administrator; and for more than 40 years, a member of Florida Health Care Association. Connie has mentored countless CNAs, nurses and other facility staff who have all gone on to reach further in their careers under her encouragement. Connie’s commitment to quality speaks for itself. Throughout her career of managing six nursing centers, she has maintained an exemplary survey record and five-star ratings. She not only knows how to recruit the right staff, but also how to train, retain and motivate the employees to have the same standards when it comes to delivering high-quality care. An active FHCA member since 1978, Connie has served as an officer in several districts, as well as district president, a regional vice president and a member of the Board of Directors. Connie is a shining example of a quality nursing home administrator and a dedicated FHCA member, and that comes from her passion for the profession, her commitment to caring and her belief in helping others succeed.
Assisted Living Administrator of the Year
Theresa Ortiz, The Pavilion at Bay Care
Theresa Ortiz is a passionate resident advocate and is known for being a dedicated leader. She has held a number of positions in the long term care profession, advancing up the career ladder from the clinical side to the administrator position she holds today. Under her leadership, The Pavilion has earned a deficiency-free survey, reduced employee turnover by nearly 50% and doubled its census. The facility recently underwent two successful hurricane evacuations, earned a grant to assist with programs for low-income residents, developed a strong volunteer program and implemented a successful QAPI program to continue enhancing quality care. Theresa is also known for her caring and compassionate spirit. She has personally donated both her time and money to assist with the facility’s life enrichment activities and help with unmet needs for the residents, such as personal items, clothes and shoes.
Willis J. Gregson Associate Member of the Year
Daniel Bozeman, Drive Devilbiss Healthcare
Daniel is actively involved in supporting members at the district level and is a vocal participant on the Associate Member Support Committee. When FHCA members in the panhandle were ravaged by Hurricane Michael, Daniel showed an outpouring of support and generosity. In the midst of the storm while keeping his own family safe, Daniel made himself accessible to FHCA’s team at the Emergency Operations Center. He donated and organized the delivery of more than 100 mattresses to member caregivers in the Panhandle who lost their homes and were sheltering in the facilities. One CNA in Marianna broke down in tears after she received the donated mattress, because “she could finally let her babies rest comfortably and safely while she returned to work to care for her residents.”
Media & Community Involvement Award
Palm Garden of Ocala
Palm Garden of Ocala has actively engaged the press and its local community to elevate the narrative about skilled nursing services. Every member of the center’s team approaches their day from the perspective of how they can celebrate life stories – how they can tell the world how others should serve our treasured elders like they do. The center is also known for bringing local business leaders into the center to help educate them about the care they provide, giving tours, hosting meetings and sharing stories about how nursing centers are a great place to receive services and to work, because the caregivers get to know you, work as a team and become extended members of your family. In addition, the Palm Garden’s team members are servants to their community – in both their words and their action. Employees are active volunteers and the center is known for supporting a number of local events.
Joe Negron Resident of the Year
Ms. Barbara Robinson, Guardian Care Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
Ms. Barbara Robinson has been a resident of Guardian Care Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for just over two years. At 75 years young, she makes it a point every day to be in the center’s dining room to attend most activities, greet new residents and their family members and share all the positive things about living at Guardian Care. She spent many years being an active member of her community, and she carried that servant leadership with her to Guardian Care. In the short time she has been there, Ms. Robinson has taken the lead to organize many activities. She started a women’s group – the Guardian Care Divas; she’s organized many events, including fashion shows and social hours; and she has planned several field trips off site, always making sure these activities are accommodating to all the residents and encouraging them to join in. Like Senator Negron for whom the award is named, Ms. Robinson is an excellent advocate for her fellow residents. Along with serving as the center’s Resident Council President, she has worked with Guardian Care to conduct community education, visiting with local pastors and churches to present local topics of interest to area seniors.
Adult Volunteer of the Year
Mary Lou Turner, Bradenton Health Care
Mary Lou Turner is described as a compassionate individual who sees others’ needs and serves with her heart. Together with her therapy dogs, Muffie and Gracie, they go above and beyond the pet therapy call of duty; the love and smiles they put on the residents’ faces are beyond outstanding. Ms. Turner is also known for bringing ice cream and snacks to the residents and staff when she and the dogs visit, and when she hears of a resident who has a need for something or is feeling down, she always brings in something special on her next visit. She also sponsors resident lunch outings and often buys clothes, slippers and jewelry for the residents.
Group Volunteer of the Year
The Lunch Bunch, Riverwood Health and Rehab Center
The Lunch Bunch has been serving seniors in the rural community of Starke, Florida, for over 33 years. Twice a month, The Lunch Bunch plans, shops, cooks and serves a home-cooked meal at the local Presbyterian church. The free meal is offered to community seniors, along with residents from area nursing centers, including Riverwood Health and Rehab Center. This group, made up of dedicated seniors themselves, are led by Mr. Wynn Armstrong, and together they spend nearly 80 hours per month preparing for these meals. These Lunch Bunch outings have provided socialization, encouragement and a change of scenery for residents, who shared in the nomination that these home-cooked meals are some of the best you could ever sink your teeth in. One resident remarked how she always looks forward to these outings and the taste of a home-cooked meal, along with the connection it gives her to her beloved community.
To learn more about FHCA’s Long Term Care Achievement Awards, click here.