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Future of Florida Nursing Homes Looks Bleak Due to State and Federal Budget Cuts

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Former Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson paints a bleak picture when it comes to the future of Florida nursing homes. As President and CEO of the American Health Care Association, Parkinson spoke at the Florida Health Care Association conference in Orlando.

Parkinson said that the average nursing home’s margin is two percent, and nursing homes are harder hit by federal and state budget cuts to Medicare and Medicaid because they do not serve many patients with private insurance.

Patients already in Florida nursing homes are experiencing a 6.5 percent reduction in Medicaid reimbursement rates to nursing homes, totaling $230 million for the state. The federal government will further cut Medicare payments to nursing homes by 11.1 percent starting October 1, which will cut $387 million in Florida.

The former Governor also expressed concern about the debt ceiling committee, saying if the two sides cannot reach an agreement that Medicare would automatically suffer a two percent cut, which could affect Florida in terms of layoffs and closures.

In Florida, long-term facilities employ 178,450 direct jobs with $5.9 billion in labor income statewide. Parkinson said that big cuts to nursing homes could harm state economy and additional trimming of the work force, and facilities remaining as committed to quality as their budget allows. Lowering the quality of care should concern Floridians, as it could expose patients to an increased risk of nursing home abuse and neglect.

An Orlando injury lawyer can provide guidance if you have suffered because of a nursing home abuse and neglect.

2 Comments

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  1. BetsyRN says:
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    Every Floridian should be aware that in 2001 1199SEIU Certified Nursing Assistants(CNAs) lobbied for and got bipartisan support to pass the 2.9 law, requiring an average of 2.9 hours of direct CNA care and 1 hour of RN/LPN care per resident per day. Underfunded until 2008, the law included tort reform and transformed care in nursing homes throughout Florida. Before the law, the average resident received about 1.6 hours of care per day. In 2010 the law was rolled back to 2.6 hours by the Florida Legislature and in the last session, in an 11th hour, back-room deal, Republican majority legislators permanently decreased the hours of care to 2.5 per day. Governor Scott signed it in to law.
    So the Florida State Budget was literally balanced by depriving nursing home residents of 24 minutes of care per day- a lot when you consider how long it takes you to shower, brush your teeth and eat breakfast. What if you could not do those things without help and they just cut the help? What if you could not get to the bathroom without help and they cut the help?
    Why should all of us care? As stated in the article- this means layoffs and less money spent in the Florida economy. More people looking for jobs and losing their healthcare insurance.
    Cutting Medicaid is a lose-lose as the Medicaid dollars the legislators appropriate draw down matching dollars from the Federal Government. The Florida economy does not need more money sent back to the Feds that could have been spent here.
    Why else should you care? Well not all residents in nursing homes are over 65 years old. If you find yourself or a member of your family with a debilitating illness, prolonged recovery or permanent disability from a car accident, you will most likely be discharged from the hospital into a nursing/rehab facility. Hospitals (well really your insurance carrier) don’t let you stay long to recoup after the acute phase of illness or injury. You should care because the faceless residents, who were just denied care by the same legislators who refuse to tax Carnival Cruise Lines, FPL or Publix, were the ones who we used to call the Greatest Generation. We called them that until they needed something back from us.
    And finally you should care because the residents of Florida nursing homes are human beings in need and Florida is not broke. Next time you vote, and please do vote- some of the residents fought for your right to do so, some lost family who fought for that right, remember that elections have consequences. Vote for the candidate who supports 2.9 and supports a little corporate responsibility to the community that made them a success.
    In the meantime, be a good American and use the internet to look up who represents you. You all have a Florida State Representative and Senator. Call them and tell them that you want 2.9 restored fully this next legislative session– hey why don’t we even make it an even 3 hours of CNA care a day per resident- let’s splurge!- (they live there 24 hours a day)- and if your senator or representative says it can’t be done, then let them know why you won’t be voting for them. You can’t make a back-room cut if you are not re-elected. Remember: Some Cuts Don’t Heal!

  2. Cilla Mitchell says:
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    BetsyRN:

    Bravo! Well written. You broke it down to a level where everyone can understand this, except for the “powers that be” who have no clue as to the collateral damage that will be left behind with all the proposed cuts.

    I have been a nurse since 1981 and worked in the state of Arizona, Texas and Florida. Over the years I have been spending less time with my patients and more time trying to fulfill paper work.

    I have a license renewal this September and am going to walk away from nursing by not renewing because the work place has become comparable to walking on a field filled with land mines ready to explode.