Nursing Home Operators in Florida See 8% Jump in Medicaid Funding, $470K Per Facility

Nursing home operators in Florida will see an 8% increase in their Medicaid funding, or $247.8 million – that amounts to $470,000 per facility.

Gov. Ron DeSantis this week signed the Focus on Florida’s Future Budget for Fiscal Year 2024-2025, which included the significant Medicaid funding increase to support the growing demand for caregivers and the needs of residents.

There are currently 706 nursing homes in Florida, with occupancy rates at 86.7% on average.


The Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) commended DeSantis’ support of the sector.

“Once again, Governor DeSantis has shown his commitment to Florida’s seniors and the people who care for them,” FHCA CEO Emmett Reed told Skilled Nursing News in a statement. “This meaningful investment in Florida’s nursing centers reflects the Governor’s unwavering leadership and vision for the future as we prepare for a significant increase in Florida’s senior population over the next decade.”

Labor has always been one of the largest investments for operators, said Luke Neumann, senior vice president of service, brand and communications for Palm Garden Healthcare in Florida.


“We’ve been working hard to overcome the nursing shortage that Florida is experiencing; we’ve increased our wages, enhanced our training programs and offer tuition reimbursement to help our team members grow professionally,” Neumann told Skilled Nursing News. “This funding increase will allow us to further support our staff who are making a positive impact on our residents every day.”

The state is expected to add about 250,000 additional residents each year through 2030, FHCA said, and about 57% of these residents will be aged 60 and older. The sector needs to fill 235,000 job openings in direct care between 2020 and 2030, including 25,000 new jobs to meet rising demand. Another 210,000 job opening will replace workers who leave the labor force or transfer to new occupations.

“We are deeply grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for paving the way so that Florida can continue to be the gold standard in delivering high-quality care to our state’s seniors today and into the future,” continued Reed.

The federal staffing mandate has also introduced the need for more funds to cover the minimum requirements for clinical workers. Nearly 75% of the state’s facilities can’t meet requirements, and about 3,800 additional nurses and nurse aides would need to be hired just to meet the mandate, the FHCA statement said. That’s a $226 million cost per year for Florida operators.

The association expects the mandate to undermine Florida’s existing staffing standards and progress made to enhance care – impacts will be detrimental, the statement said. However, a previous study from AARP Florida linked the new state standards to higher hospitalizations. FHCA has said this increase was actually due to the workforce crisis.

Florida is one of about three dozen states that have implemented their own minimum staffing home requirements. Today, Florida’s law requires two hours of certified nursing assistant (CNA) care daily per resident, at least one hour of care per resident provided by either registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs).

On the other hand, the federal rule mandates a minimum of 3.48 hours per resident per day (HPRD) of total staffing, with specific allocations for registered nurses (RN) and nurse aides.

This standard encompasses 0.55 HPRD of direct RN care and 2.45 HPRD of direct nurse aide care. CMS said that facilities can use a mix of nurse staff, including RNs, LPNs/LVNs, or nurse aides, to meet this standard. This is a change from the proposed version of the rule that CMS put forward in Sept. 2023, which called for 3 HPRD of care and excluded licensed practical nurses.

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