Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

HCAF Members Attend Annual Legislative Day at the Capitol – Important Meetings Lead to Steps that Would Eliminate the Home Health Quarterly Report

April 4, 2014

HCAF Advocates

On Wednesday, HCAF Members took to the Florida Capitol in order to lobby the State Legislature to take steps that would improve the home care industry in our state. The group of home health professionals, including a strong team sent by BAYADA Home Health Care, met with over 60 legislators to discuss eliminating or lowering the frequency of the home health quarterly report, raising the Medicaid Private Duty Nursing rate for Licensed Practical Nurses, and making sure any new framework for telemedicine includes home health nurses.

HCAF Board Member Lee Dobson and Nicole Walters, both of BAYADA Home Health Care meet with Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby).

HCAF Board Member Lee Dobson and Nicole Walters, both of BAYADA Home Health Care meet with Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby).

The day ended an a high-note, with the Senate Rules Committee adding an amendment to Senate Bill 1254 that would reduce the frequency of the home health quarterly report to twice per year. While HCAF will continue to seek full elimination of this time-consuming and obsolete report, this cuts the chances of providers missing the deadlines and being fined by half. Last year through their work at Legislative Day, HCAF advocates helped reduce the quarterly report fine from an instant $5,000 to $200 per day. It was these advocates’ meetings with members of the Senate Rules Committee (Senators Thrasher, Galvano, Richter, Simpson, Sobel, Margolis, and Negron) that paved the way for achieving this accomplishment. HCAF would also like to thank Senator Denise Grimsley for adding the measure to her bill. Furthermore, on the same day, both the House and Senate passed versions of the state budget including increases to Medicaid PDN LPN rates. Both chambers will seek to rectify some differences between each version before sending it to Governor Rick Scott for approval.

While we are proud of these accomplishments, we hope to have even more participation next year in order to tackle additional measures to improve home health in Florida! We will work to assist you in keeping close watch of future developments and will look to our members for assistance with increased advocacy in their legislators’ home districts.

In addition, HCAF was honored to have Representative Amanda Murphy (D-New Port Richey) as the keynote speaker at our Annual Legislative Briefing Dinner. Rep. Murphy spent ample time speaking and answering questions from members about the state of healthcare in Florida, how she expects home care to fit in, and effective ways of communicating with legislators. HCAF would like to thank Rep. Murphy for giving us ample time in the middle of her busy legislative session schedule!

From Left: Chris Lipson, HCAF Director of Government Affairs and Member Advocacy, Rep. Amanda Murphy (D-New Port Richey), HCAF Executive Director Bobby Lolley, HCAF Board President Anthony Clarizio

From Left: Chris Lipson, HCAF Director of Government Affairs and Member Advocacy, Rep. Amanda Murphy (D-New Port Richey), HCAF Executive Director Bobby Lolley, HCAF Board President Anthony Clarizio

Industry Reps Meet with Key Congressman to Discuss CMS Proposed Rule

July 12, 2013

FL-USCong_Bilirakis-2013-07-12Home care industry representatives today met with U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-Tarpon Springs), a four-term Tampa Bay area congressman who serves on a key health care committee in Congress.

BAYADA Home Health Care’s Jeanne Barton and Carson Barnes and HCAF’s Kyle Simon met with Rep. Bilirakis to discuss the recent CMS proposed rule, which calls for a 1.5 percent cut Medicare home health reimbursement rates in 2014. The rule also includes a 3.5 percent annual cut over four years to rebase Medicare rates, as required by the Affordable Care Act. The discussion gave industry representatives the opportunity to highlight to Rep. Bilirakis the importance of home health care and the role it plays in offering high quality, cost effective care for more than 300,000 Florida seniors each year.

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Home Health Line: Florida Association Seeks Congressional Relief From MA Pain

June 24, 2013

By Burt Schorr, Home Health Line

The visit authorization delays and denials home health agencies long have experienced in serving Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollees show no signs of going away. But a new letter from the Home Care Association of Florida (HCAF) to a key senator aims to provide relief for the ever-worsening situation.

Home health executives are finding themselves forced to invest more and more hours in getting the information and authorizations plans require. Indeed, plans’ coverage reductions and delayed authorizations effectively have restricted beneficiary access to quality home care, the HCAF noted in its recent letter to Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate Aging Committee. (more…)

Quarterly Report Reform Bill Passes Florida Legislature

May 3, 2013

After two years, multiple committee stops and countless hours of advocacy in Tallahassee, HCAF is very excited to announce that the quarterly report reform bill passed the Florida House of Representatives this morning by a vote of 115-0. The bill will now be presented to Gov. Rick Scott within seven days to sign it into law, and it will go into effect on July 1, 2013.

What does this bill do for me? (more…)

Legislative Session Winding Down: Ask Lawmakers to Support Home Care!

April 18, 2013

The Florida Legislature will adjourn its annual legislative session on May 3, and lawmakers are currently preparing the 2013-14 budget. Medicaid home health reimbursement rates have not increased since 1987, and this is the first year in a handful of years that state revenues are in the black.

HCAF has proposed a 50% increase for Medicaid home health visits and a 15% increase for Medicaid private duty nursing services. The cost to the state is $9,136,110 – no small number, but the savings that home care can provide to the state far exceeds that figure. (more…)

Home Care Industry Marches on Washington

March 20, 2013

lobbyforhomecareMore than a dozen Florida home care professionals descended on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. this week to lobby Congress on home care industry issues, including Medicare reimbursement rates and cuts, copays, the companionship services exemption and the employer mandate. In addition to meeting with Florida’s members of Congress, attendees also met with the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, which addresses Medicare, Medicaid and senior issues, and is chaired by Florida Senator Bill Nelson.

Before meeting with lawmakers, attendees participated in a preparation meeting to discuss the industry’s message. Attendees also heard from members of the U.S. Senate who have been champions for the home care industry, including: Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). (more…)

Home Care Professionals Lobby Lawmakers in Tallahassee

March 15, 2013

lobbyforhomecareMore than 40 Florida home care professionals descended on the Capitol in Tallahassee this week to lobby state lawmakers on home care industry issues, including the AHCA home health quarterly report and Medicaid reimbursement rates. In total, attendees met with 72 lawmakers, including every legislator that serves on a committee with jurisdiction over health care and spending matters. (more…)

Florida Lawmakers Appointed to Influential Health Care Committees in Congress

February 18, 2013

Calling All Advocates to Connect with Lawmakers!

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson and Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor), Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat Key) and Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) have been appointed to congressional committees with jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid matters, which include oversight over the home health benefit. (more…)

Lobby for Home Care in Tallahassee & Washington Next Month!

February 15, 2013

March on Washington 2011This year brings opportunities and more challenges for the home care industry at the state and federal level, and the time is now for Florida home care professionals to step up and advocate for our industry! In March, HCAF will host its two annual advocacy days — Legislative Day in Tallahassee and the March on Washington. These events are made possible through support grants by Community Health Accreditation Program & Medline Industries.

Why should you attend?

In Tallahassee, HCAF is seeking to reduce the AHCA quarterly report fine as well as Medicaid rate increases for skilled nursing (RN/LPN) and Private Duty Nursing. We are also asking state lawmakers to continue rebalancing state spending toward home and community based care and away from more expensive institutional care, and to remove burdensome regulations that do not impact quality of care. In Washington, HCAF will continue urging Congress to adequately reimburse providers for home health care services, to oppose any calls for a home health copay and to get rid of unnecessary and expensive regulations. We can’t make our case without you! (more…)

Tampa Lawmaker Goes on a Home Care Visit

January 31, 2013

DSC02645HCAF coordinated a home care visit this week with Congresswoman Kathy Castor and Gentiva Health Services in Tampa. Rep. Castor, a Democrat who has represented Tampa in Congress since 2007, serves on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care, including Medicare, and long-term services and supports. (more…)