Florida nursing homes given creative option to avoid budget ax

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Nursing home owners in Florida have been breathing easier since the Legislature decided not to reduce funding for the 460-plus facilities.

Nursing homes in the state had been facing a 10% Medicaid rate reduction, which would have amounted to $77 million over the next six months. But the Legislature on Saturday settled on a creative solution. 

Beginning in April, facilities will levy a 5% "quality assessment" fee on themselves.  As a result of that, they can draw down more federal funds and create a total of $166 million.  The federal-state funding formula for Medicaid is 55% to 45%. The net result will be an increase of $89 million, which makes up for cuts endured last year. Budgetary language requires nursing homes to spend money on improving quality of care.