On first day of Session, Jay Trumbull’s nursing home ‘transparency’ bill clears final House committee
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The House of Representatives wants Florida nursing homes to disclose audited financials.

A House spending panel on Tuesday approved a bill that requires nursing homes and their home officers to submit their audited financial data to state health care regulators.

HB 539, sponsored by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jay Trumbull, has now cleared its final committee and is ready for consideration by the full House. It is the only bill Trumbull has sponsored for the 2022 Session.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the bill without fanfare.

House documents show 45 lobbyists have registered for the bill.

While hospitals have been required to submit their audited financials to the state, nursing homes have not been required to do the same.

The Florida House last year took steps to change that, successfully pushing a change that required skilled nursing facilities to annually submit unaudited financials to the Agency for Health Care Administration.

According to the bill analysis, the state is in the midst of building a Florida Nursing Home Uniform Reporting System database.

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said there is synergy in the House to require increased transparency for Florida nursing homes.

Before the 2021 law, nursing facilities were not required to submit the information to the state, nor were continuing care facilities or state run hospitals. The 2021 law only impacted nursing homes.

The bill analysis indicates the costs nursing homes incur to produce the reports are considered allowable Medicaid costs. That means the nursing homes can include those costs in the reports they submit to the state. The cost reports are used to help calculate what’s called the nursing home prospective payment rate. The nursing homes know in advance the Medicaid rate.

Florida lawmakers in the 2022 Session will take a closer look at nursing home care, with the industry pushing for changes to decades old staffing requirements and extended protections from COVID-19 related lawsuits. Moreover, the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), a large statewide nursing home association, is asking the Legislature to pump more money into nursing home payments. The FHCA last year released documents that showed the association supported hundreds of millions more in funding.

Sen. Danny Burgess, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has filed the identical companion bill (SB 1324). The Senate bill was filed on Dec. 20 but has not yet been referred to any committees.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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