Nursing home group urges lawmakers to keep them a priority in budget conferences

nursing homes
The Senate budget preserves nursing home funding while the House wants a 2% cut to Medicaid dollars.

A prominent group representing nursing homes is asking lawmakers to continue investing in the state’s elderly.

Nursing home residents were some of the hardest-hit victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 11,000 long-term care facility residents have died in Florida, as have 100 staff members.

“We understand that there are tough decisions to be made, but nursing center residents need our state leaders to continue making them a priority,” said Florida Health Care Association CEO Emmett Reed. “We urge legislators to make the right decision — protect the health and well-being of our residents, the Greatest Generation, and keep Medicaid funding for Florida nursing centers intact.”

Lawmakers are looking at $1.3 billion less general revenue for the current and coming fiscal years combined than pre-pandemic estimates indicated. However, the health care section of general revenue spending allocated for the coming fiscal year is will be worth $12.4 billion, up from $10.6 billion the year prior.

FHCA, which represents nearly 700 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state, urged lawmakers to negotiate closer to the Senate’s proposal during the budget conference taking place this weekend.

“As legislators head into budget negotiations, they have an opportunity to reinvest in our nursing centers and ensure that we have the funding needed to strengthen our workforce, clinical services and infrastructure so we can continue to improve residents’ quality of life,” Reed said.

Sen. Aaron Bean‘s Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee preserved nursing home funding, which he emphasized during the Senate budget rollout. However, Rep. Bryan Avila‘s House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee outlined a 2% cut in Medicaid funding, amounting to $80 million less on an annual basis.

Nursing homes have already depleted federal funding from the CARES Act. And while vaccines have been rolling out for months, the pandemic isn’t over.

“For more than a year, Florida’s nursing centers have been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the investments they made to keep residents and staff safe and protected have put many on the brink of an economic crisis,” Reed said.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.



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