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Nursing homes make budget plea to Ron DeSantis

At stake is a $15.5 million to enhance Medicaid payments to nursing homes.

The state’s largest nursing-home association sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis asking him to spare from a veto millions of dollars in Medicaid funding for long-term care facilities.

Included in the proposed fiscal 2019-2020 budget is $15.5 million to enhance Medicaid payments to nursing homes. Lawmakers directed that the money be used to increase the “quality payment” component in a formula that is used to determine nursing-home payments.

“The additional funding will be used to reward and incentivize nursing centers to continue providing the highest level of care to Florida’s frail elders,” Florida Health Care Association Executive Director Emmett Reed wrote Tuesday in a letter to DeSantis.

“These additional dollars will give providers much-needed resources to invest in additional staff and new programs to improve resident health outcomes and enhance their quality of life.”

In the past, Florida paid nursing homes based on how much it cost the facilities to care for patients.

Nursing homes submitted cost reports to the state which, in turn, used the information to determine reimbursement rates. The state would subsequently audit the cost reports to ensure no foul play.

The Legislature in 2017 scrapped that system and now uses a formula based on a variety of components including an incentive for quality.

DeSantis has not formally received the proposed $91.1 billion budget, which lawmakers passed May 4.

But following the end of the Legislative Session, DeSantis told reporters he looked forward to vetoing some spending included in the budget. The Governor has line-item veto power.

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