Florida nursing homes may soon be required to submit audited financial data to state healthcare regulators.

A state House spending panel this week approved a measure that seeks to increase transparency among skilled nursing facilities. HB 539, sponsored by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jay Trumbull (R), has now cleared its final committee and is ready for consideration by the full House.

Danny Burgess (R), chairman of Florida’s 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.

Provider association LeadingAge Florida has expressed support for the measure.

“We have always been supportive of accountability and transparency, and we appreciate Chair Trumbull and Chair Burgess bringing bills that will provide for enhanced transparency,” Nick Van Der Linden, director of communications at LeadingAge Florida told McKnight’s Wednesday. “Billions of taxpayer dollars are spent each year on Medicaid reimbursement for Florida nursing homes, and it’s reasonable to expect clear information regarding how those dollars are being spent.”

Florida isn’t the only state that has moved to enact financial transparency legislation for nursing homes. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed similar legislation into law last year. The Corporate Transparency in Elder Care Act of 2021 (SB 650) requires operators to report their finances to the state and the public.

“Many large, for-profit SNF chains use complex ownership structures to increase their profitability by making it seem like they can’t do anything to control their costs, while in reality they’re keeping the money all in dark recesses of the corporate family,” said Senator Henry Stern (D) of Los Angeles, who introduced the measure. “This shines the bright light of day on this practice by requiring nursing home chains to place consolidated financial reports on each individual facility’s website.”