Florida governor signs law that will change nursing home reimbursement

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Florida nursing homes will be moving to a prospective payment system for reimbursement following Gov. Rick Scott's (R) signing of legislation Friday.

The Florida Health Care Association had advocated for healthcare bill SB 2514, saying it improves cost-based nursing center reimbursement and puts money into direct care.

“The Prospective Payment System will put the focus on quality care and quality of life for Florida's nursing center residents, and, for the first time in Florida's Medicaid history, will link nursing center reimbursement to quality outcomes,” said FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed in a statement. “On behalf of the thousands of long-term caregivers working in our member centers, we commend Governor Scott for supporting the PPS so they can achieve their goals of providing exceptional care and services to our state's seniors and people with disabilities.”

LeadingAge Florida officials were more modest in their support, saying they are pleased the state will delay the implementation of the system for a year.

“The plan, as is, needs a lot of work,” LeadingAge Director of Communications Greg Ungru told McKnight's on Tuesday.

LeadingAge Florida wants to see more ties of reimbursement to high quality. While the bill could push more than $50 million to the sector, it's unclear whether those dollars would go directly to care improvement.

Part of the association's efforts are to be involved in a legislative work group, Ugru noted. One of the goals is to address disparity in regions within Florida. The Northern region currently lumps 62 counties from Naples, FL, up to the Florida/Alabama line, which LeadingAge Florida believes is too large.

“When you lump in Fort Myers with Steinhatchee, that doesn't make sense,” Ungru said.