The Legislature officially adjourned Saturday, May 4, to pass the final $91.1 billion budget for the 2019-20 state fiscal year.
Budget challenges leading up to the 2019 legislative session included costs related to rebuilding after Hurricane Michael, increased spending on the environment around issues such as toxic algae blooms, and reductions in tax dollars due to tax breaks passed by the Legislature in previous sessions.
Renewing the one-time $138 million Medicaid funding increase approved by the Legislature last session was a legislative priority for FHCA. Other key issues included preserving nursing center Certificate of Need, modernizing staffing standards and advancing regulatory proposals that would positively impact nursing center care, while defeating those that would be harmful to providers.
In the end, FHCA was able to secure a total Medicaid rate increase of $23.5 million for nursing centers, representing, on average, a $1.47 per patient day Medicaid rate increase over the base spending allocation. While the $23.5 million was not the full amount we advocated for, it’s important to note that nursing centers were the only health care providers that achieved a rate increase this session.
Certificate of Need (CON) will also remain intact for nursing centers and hospices. While the House passed its bill to include nursing centers in the CON deregulation language, the Senate companion focused on hospitals. When the bills merged and the final legislation passed, FHCA was successful in keeping our CON laws preserved.
While the priority to modernize staffing did not advance this session, the discussion prompted the launch of a coalition with AARP Florida, LeadingAge Florida, and other organizations to focus on the short- and long-term care needs of Florida seniors. Members of the Coalition for Silver Solutions came together to advocate for Medicaid funding for nursing center care, along with reducing the waiting list for seniors needing home and community-based services.
Post-session, the Coalition will work together to address aging issues from a broader perspective, including the need for specialized staff, the increasing workforce crisis, the complexities of our residents and the importance of properly funding long term care services across the full continuum.
Once again, our members were an important part of our lobbying efforts. Your participation in our annual Lobby Wednesdays made an impact and helped put a face on long term care. We want to thank Bouchard Insurance, Health Care Professional Consulting Services, Inc. and Medline Industries for their continued sponsorship of Lobby Wednesdays. We are always more successful when our members are engaged and our voices are united.
This was a legislative session of some new and some not-so-new challenges. Nevertheless, FHCA is always unwavering in how we approach our advocacy. Your commitment to your residents and staff is the driving force behind our mission to develop a legislative agenda that will help you further enhance the quality care and quality of life you deliver. We’re proud to represent you and are grateful for your continued support of our work at the Capitol.
*Please note that although these legislative measures have been approved by both chambers, the Governor must take action for final approval (sign the bill, allow it to become law without his signature or veto the bill). Watch your weekly Focus on Florida e-newsletter for updates on the Governor’s action and effective dates on the bills we’ve reported on below.
Gov. DeSantis released his proposed $91.3 billion budget in February, calling for a “Bold Vision for a Brighter Future.” The Governor’s proposed budget provided full recurring funding for nursing center Medicaid rates and an increase in quality assessment dollars of almost $8 million; however, it did not extend the 2018-2019 $138 million in Medicaid funding for nursing center care. The initial Senate and House budget proposals mirrored the Governor’s budget, making for a challenge to convince lawmakers to renew the one-time funding for nursing centers from last year.
Although not included in either chamber’s initial budget, thanks to the work of Senators Ben Albritton (R-Bartow), Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville), Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) and Wilton Simpson (R-Spring Hill), along with Representatives MaryLynn Magar (R-Hope Sound), Dane Eagle (R-Cape Coral), Travis Cummings (R-Fleming Island), Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland) and several others, the issue of funding nursing center care continued to be part of the discussion throughout the budget process.
The 2019-2020 Fiscal Year (FY) budget will include a total Medicaid rate increase of $23.5 million, representing, on average, a $1.47 per patient day Medicaid rate increase over the base spending allocation. Funds will be allocated as such:
- $15.5 million from the Lease Bond Trust Fund, and federal matching funds will be directed toward raising the quality incentive pool from 6% to 6.5% of non-property related funds.
- $8 million in federal matching funds from the Nursing Home Quality Assessment will go to the base rates.
- Additionally, the hold harmless provision associated with the implementation of the Prospective Payment System remains fully intact, which means provider rates will stay at or above the September 2016 Medicaid rate.
Medicaid Retroactive Eligibility
The bill that implements the budget (SB 2502) also continued the change to Medicaid retroactive eligibility that passed during the 2018 session. As a reminder, effective February 1, 2019, Medicaid coverage begins on the first day of the month in which an application is filed. CMS required legislative approval to continue this past June 30, 2019.
The Legislature chose to continue this for the next state fiscal year, at which point lawmakers must act again. In the interim, the bill also directs the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), in conjunction with various stakeholder groups, including FHCA, to submit a report to the Governor, Senate President and Speaker of the House regarding the impact of the change to Medicaid retroactive eligibility on beneficiaries and providers. The report is due by January 10, 2020, to ensure the Legislature has the information it needs to act during the 2020 session.
Other budget items include additional funding in the Medicaid Long Term Care Program for additional home and community-based services (HCBS) services to Medicaid beneficiaries, money for AHCA to finalize implementation and operation of the electronic PASRR program, and $680,000 toward the Provider Background Screening Clearinghouse.
Home and Community-Based Services
It was also a challenging year for home and community-based programs for the elderly. Funding for these programs, including Community Care for the Elderly (CCE), Home Care for the Elderly, Alzheimer’s Respite Care and Local Service Programs, were either flat or experienced modest increases. The CCE Program and Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program saw a $3,928,066 increase. The Senate, throughout the budget process, had maintained a $5 million recurring increase for CCE; however, in the end, the House would not agree, and the Senate conceded.
Florida’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) received no funding increase, despite recommendations by the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) and the Governor for additional funds to address the growing ADRC Medicaid workload under Florida’s Medicaid Managed Long Term Care Program. Without additional funding, frail seniors who require intake and screening and need assistance with their Medicaid eligibility application process and their enrollment into Florida’s Medicaid Managed Long Term Care Program will see longer wait times for assistance.
CERTIFICATE OF NEED
Prior to session, Certificate of Need (CON) was a significant talking point, with House Speaker Jose Oliva (R-Miami Lakes) indicating this would be a priority for his chamber, even referring to reforming the “Health Care Industrial Complex” in his remarks to open session. Nursing centers, hospices and centers for individuals with developmental disabilities were included in CON deregulation under HB 21 by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Fort Myers), while companion legislation in the Senate (SB 1712 by Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart), which took many forms during session, solely focused on hospitals.
Throughout session, FHCA worked to preserve nursing centers’ CON laws and urged lawmakers to keep us out of the repeal bills. Our messaging focused on Florida’s long-standing commitment to helping seniors remain in their homes or in community-based care for as long as possible, and how repealing nursing center CON would run contrary to that. Unmanaged growth, low occupancy rates, inefficiencies in how buildings operate and a reduction in the value of Florida’s nursing centers would all have a negative effect on quality care.
In the end, the Legislature passed HB 21 by Rep. Fitzenhagen/Sen. Harrell), with FHCA successfully preserving Certificate of Need (CON) for nursing centers and hospices. Hospitals will see the end of their CON regulations over a two-year period. General hospitals and tertiary services (neonatal intensive care, comprehensive rehabilitation and organ transplantation, etc.) will have their CON eliminated on July 1, 2019; specialty hospital CON will end on July 1, 2021.
While FHCA was successful in preserving CON this year, we don’t expect this fight to be over. We anticipate certificate of need will continue being a topic of discussion in future sessions.
In late 2018, an FHCA task force came together to address the complex medical needs of nursing center residents and how centers can improve quality care through a more modernized staffing standard. The concept was to allow for skilled professionals, besides Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), to be defined as direct care staff so that trained individuals with a specific expertise would deliver individualized care to residents to improve their health outcomes.
SB 1088 by Sen. Ben Albritton (R-Bartow)/HB 897 by Rep. Rick Roth (R-Palm Beach Gardens) proposed to modernize staffing for Florida nursing centers to meet federal, resident-centered standards, giving centers flexibility to use specialized staff to meet the acute care needs of residents.
The bills were openly opposed by numerous groups, including LeadingAge Florida, AARP, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Long Term Care Ombudsman, the Florida Justice Association (trial bar) and other groups.
While these bills failed to advance beyond one committee this session, they were a driving force behind the Coalition for Silver Solutions, which came together mid-session to urge lawmakers to place seniors at the top of the legislative priority list.
The Legislature passed HB 23 by Rep Clay Yarborough (R-Jacksonville)/Sen Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) related to telehealth. This legislation establishes a regulatory framework for authorized licensed health care professionals (including those in nursing centers) to use telehealth to deliver health care services within their respective scopes of service. Out-of-state health care professionals will also be authorized to use telehealth to deliver health care services to Florida patients if they register with the Department of Health or the applicable board and meet certain eligibility requirements.
FHCA believes telehealth will have a positive impact on nursing home residents, especially those in more rural areas where access to doctors, specialists and medical services may be limited.
Once signed by the Governor, this legislation will be effective July 1, 2019.
A priority of Gov. DeSantis, the Legislature passed SB 182 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)/ the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers), which eliminates the prohibition against smoking marijuana for medical use. On March 18, Gov. DeSantis signed this bill into law.
Since the use of marijuana is illegal by federal standards, FHCA worked to ensure there would be no conflict for nursing centers. The final legislation included language permitting nursing centers to have a policy to prohibit smoking marijuana, similar to a nonsmoking policy already being used in some nursing centers.
HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION
The following health care bills successfully passed out of the Legislature and are headed to the Governor for his approval.
Ambulatory Surgical Centers and Observation Status
HB 843 by Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-Doral)/Sen. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) included many provisions related to health care. This legislation is the result of multiple bills combined into one, also known as a health care “train.”
Of interest to the FHCA members is a requirement for hospitals to immediately notify patients upon placing them on observation status using the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) form for Medicare patients and a form adopted by AHCA for non-Medicare patients. The bill also changes discharge requirements for Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC), which will be able to keep patients for a full 24 hours as opposed to the current requirement to discharge patients by midnight.
FHCA had been watching this legislation closely, as it originally contained language authorizing the establishment of Recovery Care Centers, which would be permitted to keep patients for post-surgical recovery or rehabilitation for up to 72 hours. This proposal was not included in the final bill.
Once approved by the Governor, these changes will be effective on July 1, 2019.
Health Care Employee Licensure
HB 397 by Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood)/SB 334 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) originally permitted a person to apply for one of the many licenses offered by the State of Florida, such as a barber, cosmetologist etc., while under incarceration or supervision and generally limited the period during which the agency (Division of Business & Professional Regulations and Department of Health) may consider criminal history as an impairment to licensure. This included a seven-year limit for CNAs, and FHCA worked early on to remove CNAs from being included in the proposal.
The version of the bill without CNA language was incorporated into HB 7125 by Reps. Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) and Kimberly Daniels (D-Jacksonville) and House Judiciary Committee/Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), which successfully passed out of the Legislature. Once the Governor signs this bill, it will become effective October 1, 2019.
Long Term Care Insurance
HB 673 by Rep Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville)/Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) addressed instability in the long term care insurance market by broadening the assessment base to include life and annuity member and accident and health member insurance plans. This will ensure that long term care insurance policy holders will receive the benefits they have purchased and help strengthen the long term care insurance market, potentially leading to more affordable coverage. This legislation will be effective upon the Governor’s signature.
Nonemergency Medical Transportation
HB 411 by Rep. Danny Perez (R-Miami)/Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) allows a transportation network company (TNC), such as Uber or Lyft, to provide non-emergency medical transportation to Medicaid recipients. A TNC would be required to follow all the same rules required of other Medicaid transportation companies, including all Medicaid handbook requirements, background screening provisions and the use of an appropriate vehicle to meet the medical condition of the individuals receiving service.
Since transportation to and from doctors’ appointments are one of the biggest challenges with Medicaid managed care, this legislation will likely have a positive impact on long term care, as it provides residents with more choices for reliable transportation. With the Governor’s approval, the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2019.
Continuing Care Contracts
HB 1033 by Rep. Clay Yarborough (R-Jacksonville)/Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) will overhaul regulations for Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). This legislation was crafted from stakeholder input and was filed in response to uncertainties exploited in recent years by a distressed CCRC which could not provide refunds to misplaced residents after entering bankruptcy. HB 1033 makes changes to law regarding record keeping, creates a number of new requirements and procedures around protecting CCRC residents with increased transparency and disclosure of financial information, enhances financial solvency requirements, revises reporting requirements for CCRCs so the Office of Insurance Regulation can more quickly identify financial trouble, and streamlines the application process for licensure, acquisition and expansion of CCRCs. Once approved by the Governor, this bill becomes effective January 1, 2020.
The following health care bills failed to pass this session.
Access to Patient Records
HB 1035 by Rep. Bob Rommel (R-Naples) standardized access to patient records for all health care facilities, including nursing centers, and placed a timeframe on allowing access to records. It also standardized the patient’s cost for having records reproduced. FHCA worked with both the House and Senate sponsors to ensure language did not provide unachievable timelines and requirements for turning over records to residents or their representatives. Ultimately, FHCA was successful in having these bills fixed; however, the legislation did not pass.
SB 188 by Sen. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart)/Health Quality Subcommittee and Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-Doral) would have made changes to CNA certifications, giving the Florida Board of Nursing the authority to grant licenses by endorsement to CNA applicants with certifications in US territories, including Puerto Rico. FHCA advocated for this legislation as it would have helped alleviate some of nursing centers’ workforce challenges. In the end, however, it did not pass.
HB 833 by Rep. Cord Byrd (R-Jacksonville Beach) and SB 1050 by Sen. Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) would have allowed a consultant pharmacist to provide medication management services within the framework of a collaborative practice agreement between the pharmacist and a health care facility (including a hospice and nursing center), medical director or a physician. FHCA supported these bills; however, this legislation was unsuccessful in the end.
Fatality Review Teams
SB 452 by Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) and its companion, HB 583 by Rep. Barbara Watson (D-Miami Gardens), would have created elder abuse fatality review teams in each of the 20 judicial circuits to review cases of fatal incidents of elder abuse and make recommendations to help prevent future fatalities related to elder abuse. Although the bills failed to advance, FHCA worked with the sponsors early on to have them amended to ensure the team’s reviews were focused on closed cases only and the identifying information would be redacted.
Legislation to give nursing centers the option to use long term care pharmacy formularies (SB 706 by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Jacksonville/HB 865 by Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton) failed to advance. Under these bills, those centers which chose to create a formulary would have been required to take an interdisciplinary approach, with physicians, pharmacies and nurses working together to ensure the medications fit best into the resident’s disease management protocol and overall care plan.
FHCA will be working to bring this proposal back next year and make it a priority, as we have heard how important this issue is for our members.
SB 778 by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) and HB 1123 by Rep. Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach) would have authorized the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to create a structured process to approve new entities applying for PACE programs. In the end, this legislation was not successful.
Sexual Misconduct Reporting in Health Care
SB 776 by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) and HB 665 by Rep. Charlie Stone (R-Ocala) would have required specified health care facilities (including nursing centers), as a condition of licensure, to enact policies requiring its employees, contractors, volunteers and interns to report actual or suspected sexual misconduct involving a patient to the licensee, the Department of Children and Families, and the appropriate local law enforcement agency.
While this legislation was not successful, FHCA educated the bill sponsors and other legislators that it was duplicative of current law. We worked with the sponsors to ensure it would not have negatively affected nursing centers had it been successful.
Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits
HB 3281 by Rep. Sam Killebrew (R-Winter Haven) provided funding for the Florida Veterans Foundation Aid and Attendance Benefits Program, which assists Veterans who may need help paying for nursing center or assisted living facility (ALF) care. The proposal did not make it into the final budget.
ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES
FHCA advocated for several bills this session that will clarify regulations for assisted living facilities (ALF).
SB 184 by Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation)/Rep. Josie Tomkow (R-Auburndale) transfers powers, duties, and functions of Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) relating to assisted living facilities, hospices, adult day care centers, and adult family care homes to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). This bill passed the Legislature on April 11 and was signed by Gov. DeSantis on April 26. It becomes effective July 1, 2019.
HB 1349 by Rep. Margaret Good (D-Sarasota) and SB 1592 by Sen. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) would have better clarified several ALF regulations, including how 24-hour nursing supervision and assistive devices are defined and criteria for residency. Ultimately, this bill failed to pass.
FHCA continued to raise awareness among lawmakers about nursing centers’ emergency preparedness activity and the work being done to keep residents safe during disasters. Hurricane Michael brought attention to the use of generators, given the number of centers that lost power during the storm. Prior to session, FHCA was asked to report on how nursing centers fared during Hurricane Michael, including the decisions to evacuate and shelter in place, damage to facilities, staffing challenges and how providers successfully kept residents safe and cool due to the use of generators. An update on nursing centers’ compliance with the Emergency Environmental Rule (generator rule) was also provided.
FHCA supported legislation (HB 1299 by Rep. Spencer Roach, R-North Ft. Myers) that would have kept local counties and municipalities from creating their own ordinances that conflict with the nursing center and ALF Emergency Environmental Rules (generator rules).
While the bill did not pass out of the Legislature this year, FHCA will continue to work with local municipalities on behalf of members to help alleviate confusion and financial burdens for providers and keep the Agency for Health Care Administration informed of any local barriers that may affect providers’ generator implementation.
In his inaugural remarks, Gov. DeSantis highlighted the need for “low taxes, a reasonable regulatory climate, a sensible legal system and a healthy environment attract jobs, businesses and investment, particularly in the areas of technology, manufacturing and finance.” During the Governor’s Transition Advisory Committee on Health and Wellness, FHCA provided recommendations as to how the Association’s legislative priorities would support the Governor’s vision for enhancing Florida’s health care system.
With liability being a key concern for the long term care profession, FHCA reported to the Governor’s Transition Committee that proper, well thought-out, and meaningful nursing center litigation reform would help contain costs for Florida’s Medicaid system and ensure nursing centers have the resources needed to provide quality, long-term health care to Florida’s frailest elders.
During a pre-session tort reform workshop, FHCA testified that many insurance companies in Florida are unwilling to offer liability insurance, as they simply don’t want to take on that risk. It was also emphasized how today’s excessive litigation costs put a financial strain on nursing centers and divert resources that could be used toward quality improvements.
Despite what would appear to be an environment conducive to tort reform, this session saw a limited number of those types of bills filed. Rep. Tom Leek (R-Ormond Beach) filed HB 17 which dealt with product liability when the product is misused; set limits on damages for the cost of medical or health care services to the amount actually paid or owed the provider; and set limits on non-economic damages in any civil action at $1 million. This bill failed to pass the full House and did not have a Senate companion even filed.
HB 7065 by Rep. Bob Rommel (R-Naples)/Sen. Doug Broxson (R-Gulf Breeze) also dealt with tort-related issues, specifically the Assignment of Benefits (AOB), in which property owners who need repairs sign over benefits to contractors who seek payment from the insurance company directly. In recents years, the process has come under scrutiny due to significant fraud and litigation on the part of trial lawyers working with the contractors. AOB reform, which has been a major focus of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida, did eventually pass but was significantly watered down in the process.
The business community can expect challenges in the years ahead as it works to move meaningful tort reform through the Legislature.
COALITION FOR SILVER SOLUTIONS
Mid-session, Florida Health Care Association, AARP Florida and LeadingAge Florida formed the Coalition for Silver Solutions, committed to developing short- and long-term strategies to meet the health care needs of Florida’s aging population. Members of the Coalition for Silver Solutions worked together to advocate for sufficient funding for both nursing centers and home-based care, seeking to retain the $138 million in Medicaid funding authorized by the Legislature last year. The Coalition will also convene after session to formulate long-term strategies that will guide Florida as it deals with the unique and increasing challenges of the state’s large and growing population of seniors.
The Coalition hosted several media events to raise awareness to its initiatives, including a joint press conference, media availability and Facebook Live video. It also placed a joint OpEd in key media markets, ran digital advertising on political news sites and launched an informative website. A Coalition Joint Lobby Day also brought together nursing center staff, residents, family members, seniors and personal caregivers, who conducted more than 50 meetings with legislators to discuss the current budget and the need to fund nursing center care and home and community-based services.
Going forward, the Coalition will identify other stakeholders across the full continuum of long term care to discuss the current system and offer recommendations to the Legislature and the Governor on how to address the needs of Florida’s aging population, including proper funding, reducing waiting lists and a sufficient workforce that is properly trained.
Prior to session, FHCA released a report compiling a review of quality indicators in Florida nursing centers and how they compare with other states, in terms of current status and changes in quality and rankings over time. The results showed Florida nursing centers are consistently among the strongest performers in the nation, not just in terms of the most current quality data but also in terms of improvements over the past several years. The Quality Report became the foundation for FHCA’s legislative session public relations campaign.
The Quality Data report was discussed among members of the Capitol Press Corps at FHCA’s pre-session Media Roundtable, during which the Association’s Government Affairs team outlined our 2019 priorities, including renewing the Medicaid funding increase, modernizing staffing and preserving certificate of need. Throughout session, press releases, guest editorials, advisories and statements were also issued to members of the media to generate coverage and keep them informed about our legislative activity.
FHCA’s social media activity included the use of infographics, news articles and video shorts posted on Facebook and Twitter, with legislators and political influencers being among the target audiences. Posts focused on our key messages about quality, funding and other highlights related to our legislative priorities. FHCA’s nearly 40 social media posts reached lawmakers an average of 38 times each, amounting to nearly 4,300 impressions. Overall, these posts reached more than 3,500 people for an average of 29,000 impressions, with 263 reactions, 88 shares and 890 video viewing completions.
FHCA also conducted two Facebook Live events with members during Lobby Wednesdays. The first, a “Big Deal” Funding Rally, brought together nearly 100 members on the Capitol steps to address the impact of the Medicaid funding losses. Sens. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) and Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) joined the group to talk about the importance of having their voices heard, while FHCA Secretary Kathy Gallin and administrators and nurses shared moving messages about their residents, their quality achievements and the critical need for long term care funding.
A Coalition for Silver Solutions Facebook video event featured FHCA member Centre Pointe Rehabilitation Center staff, residents and family members, LeadingAge and a resident from Westminster Oaks and representatives from AARP Florida. The group of close to 30 advocates gathered outside the House Chamber to address the budget and share real-life experiences about what would happen if funding was eliminated. Rep. Thad Altman (R-Indiatlantic) participated, acknowledging how important it was for them to speak on behalf of the thousands of seniors and caregivers across Florida.
FHCA’s grassroots initiatives included our Lobby Wednesdays, during which nearly 20 FHCA member companies and facilities participated. Together, this represented over 400 Lobby Wednesday participants who conducted over 250 meetings with legislators. In addition, FHCA members sent more than 5,000 emails to legislators about the Medicaid funding issue.
FHCA also engaged nursing center residents in the process, asking members to help their residents write letters, sign petitions and take pictures and videos to have their voices heard about funding and quality care. Over 3,000 letters and petition signatures from residents, family members and staff were collected and delivered to lawmakers, with several photos and videos from residents used in FHCA’s social media campaign.
FHCA wants to thank you for your support both before and during session. The extensive reach of our members’ grassroots advocacy, combined with the strength of our Government Affairs team and the support of our Florida Health Care Association and Our Florida Promise volunteer leaders, is what constantly keeps our issues front and center with legislators.
FHCA wants to remind you about the importance of continuing that grassroots throughout the year. With lawmakers returning to their districts, we want to encourage you to invite them into your center to highlight the care you provide to Florida’s frailest elders. The 2020 legislative session begins in January, with committee meetings likely to start in September. With a new governor and many new legislators, we must keep fostering those relationships and help them understand why nursing centers, and the residents under your care, should be a priority.
Be on the lookout for more information about the Governor’s action on the budget and other legislation in the weeks ahead. In addition, FHCA will be compiling the 2019 Legislative Scorecard, which is a valuable tool for measuring lawmakers’ support of our issues.
On behalf of the entire team at Florida Health Care Association, thank you again for your ongoing support and allowing us to represent you and the important work you do.