Florida Health Care Association CEO Emmett Reed
Used with Permission from: the Florida Health Care Association
Florida Health Care Association CEO Emmett Reed
Used with Permission from: the Florida Health Care Association

Nursing homes in Florida can expect a record jump in Medicaid funding to kick in later this year, thanks to the fiscal year 2024-25 budget the state Legislature has passed.

The spending plan includes an 8% increase in reimbursement rates, which represent the largest ever seen in the state, according to Emmett Reed, CEO of the Florida Health Care Association. 

“This is absolutely a historic investment in long-term care in Florida. We’ve never seen the likes of it,” Reed told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Monday.

The 8% rate increase amounts to nearly $250 million, which would provide around $470,000 to each nursing home in the state each year of the budget. The increase will go into the base Medicare rate, so all facilities should benefit from the increased funding.

Facilities will begin seeing reimbursements distributed in October, according to Reed.

The historic funding increase was partly due to proactive advocacy efforts by providers, Reed said — describing a “three-pronged approach” that other states’ leaders could learn from.

Florida providers participated in political fundraising events to gain facetime with politicians, invited those policymakers to tour nursing homes to see the on-the-ground challenges providers face, and sent members to weekly legislative sessions to lobby.

“Our members will come in and focus on communicating to legislators what our particular needs are that year,” Reed told McKnight’s. “What I’ve seen happen many times is a member will walk in, sit down with a lawmaker, and say, ‘Oh, remember when you were at my care center and you met resident XYZ?’ And it’s a natural conversation — a relationship has been developed.”

The region’s largest nonprofit provider association also spoke in support of the new budget Monday.

“We are immensely grateful to the legislature and their collaborative efforts that resulted in a budget that not only addresses immediate needs, but also builds upon a solid foundation for the future of elder care in our state,” said Susan Langston, vice president of advocacy at LeadingAge Southeast. 

Reed also expressed gratitude to the policymakers who partnered with long-term care leaders to support the sector.

“I just want to thank the governor, president of the Senate and Speaker of the House,” Reed said. “It’s important to give those folks a mention because it’s not easy for them to say, ‘Yes, we’re going to give you a historic increase.’”

Reed noted that Florida lawmakers have been consistent in their support of long-term care providers in recent years, including raising Medicaid funding and even loosening staffing restrictions in the prior budget.