ORLANDO, FL- On July 29, Representative Ray Rodrigues (R-76) was awarded Legislator of the Year by The Home Care Association of Florida (HCAF). Each year, HCAF honors a lawmaker who has exhibited energy, dedication and steadfast leadership on behalf of Florida home care providers and patients. HCAF awards those who have proven commitment to the home care industry and the citizens of Florida to support their rights to receive safe and effective care at home. The award was presented at HCAF’s Annual Conference on July 29th in Orlando, where over 700 Florida home health industry leaders were in attendance.
HCAF Director of Communications & Government Affairs, Leanne Norr, made the following statement:
“It’s time our lawmakers come up with viable solutions to deal with the rising senior population here in Florida and their health care needs. Representative Rodrigues not only understands the challenges that Florida home care patients face, but he has proactively supported 21st century solutions to enhance quality and access to care, like telemedicine practices.
“Representative Rodrigues’ staunch commitment to decreasing burdensome government regulations within the home health industry has allowed agencies to provide quality health care for more patients in the comfort of their own homes. Through his sponsorship and passage of HB 441 this past legislative session, he has saved home care agencies thousands of dollars, allowing them to keep their doors open for patients during a time where they face more stifling government regulations than ever before.
“We applaud Representative Rodrigues for his unwavering commitment to home health care and for his dedicated leadership helping home health agencies deliver quality care to more Floridians.”
Florida State Representative Ray Rodrigues made the following statement:
“The home care industry has proved that it can provide cost-effective, high quality health care to Florida residents. Home health professionals who dedicate their lives to helping patients receive quality care should be able to do their jobs without the continued threat of excessive government regulations.
“It’s our moral obligation to make sure that Florida patients get high quality care at affordable rates. Implementing policies that allow home health agencies to expand, hire more healthcare professionals, and care for more patients not only helps more people stay healthy, but it also contributes to a healthy Florida economy.
“I thank the Home Care Association of Florida for this honor and will continue to work on common-sense solutions that will help home care agencies and patients thrive.”
Background on HB 441
Senate Bill 1374 was passed in 2008 and implemented a Home Health Quarterly Report requiring all licensed home care agencies in Florida to submit a report each quarter to the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA). No other type of health care provider was required to submit a quarterly report. 2,200 Florida licensed home care agencies faced overwhelming fines. If an agency failed to submit the quarterly report on the 15th day following each calendar quarter, the Agency for AHCA imposed an excessive $200 fine per day after that. It’s clear that these fees are excessive. As of January 2015, AHCA collected more than $5.6 million in quarterly report fines, most of that from honest providers who simply failed to meet the deadline. Two out of three agencies that have been fined are considered small businesses. These are not small costs to Florida home health agency owners trying to stay afloat.
In the 2015 legislative session, Representative Rodrigues sponsored and successfully passed HB 441, the home care industry’s top legislative priority during the 2015 legislative session. HB 441 eliminated the quarterly reporting requirement for home health agencies so that Florida providers could care for more patients in the comfort of their own homes without overreached government fines.