Florida has long valued its seniors. More and more seniors flock to our state every year.
There’s a reason why seniors move to Florida, looking for a place to settle down with low taxes, first-class health care and lots of sunshine.
One would need to look no further than Gov. Ron DeSantis steadfastly prioritizing seniors for the COVID-19 vaccine to see that the health and welfare of Florida seniors is a top priority.
It is with this principle in mind that today LeadingAge Florida, on behalf of its 250 members, sent a letter to Florida’s legislative leaders urging them to allocate $47 million as a one-time funding source for the 237 nursing homes that are set to receive significant cuts through the Prospective Payment System (PPS).
This year, 237 — or 36% — of Florida’s nursing homes will see their Medicaid rates reduced due to the ongoing implementation of the Medicaid PPS, a system that largely cuts funding from high-performing nursing homes. Not only does the new payment system pose a threat to the viability of many high-quality providers, the implementation timeline comes on the heels of a once-in-a-century pandemic that dramatically increased costs and reduced revenues and will take 12 to 24 months to recover from.
We have heard from many nursing homes across the state that not only would further cuts in elder care be crippling to them, but such cuts would force some facilities to permanently close their doors, displacing Florida’s most frail elders.
PPS-related losses for those 237 nursing homes would average about $198,000 per facility, with one LeadingAge Florida member losing as much as $572,000, all in addition to substantial COVID-related losses.
With Florida set to receive $10.2 billion in federal relief funding and an additional $400 million in Medicaid funds, we are asking that the Legislature allocate a one-time $47 million funding bridge to ensure Florida’s seniors continue to have access to the highest quality of care.
We continue to be grateful for the state’s top leaders prioritizing Florida seniors, and we are hopeful they will carefully consider the significance of our request and the life-changing impact the support of the bridge funding would have on our nursing home population in Florida.
Steve Bahmer is president and CEO of LeadingAge Florida.