A Message from the Secretary

Hello all!

As the season of thanksgiving comes to a close, I am reminded that gratitude magnifies our experience of the good things in life, enabling us to enjoy them more thoroughly. I am grateful for the opportunity to continuing to serve Florida as we collaborate to provide better health care for all Floridians.

November was a busy month for the Agency. I visited Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital to learn more about their expert pediatric care for children with challenging medical problems. I also met with representatives from the Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities and visited a facility supporting individuals with disabilities. I also met with leadership from Humana, one of the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care health plans the Agency works with to provide medical services to Medicaid members.

Florida received approval of $1.1 billion to support Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). HCBS programs serve the state’s aging population and individuals with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. This investment will allow Florida health care providers to recruit and retain staff to care for the most vulnerable. This enhanced funding will also bolster the ability of Floridians to receive care in a community-based setting. We look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders across the state to implement this funding and work to help these Floridians not only live, but thrive, in their homes and communities.

I’m proud to report that the Florida was awarded a National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) Spotlight Award at their fall conference in Washington D.C. earlier this month. The Agency was praised for our work to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among Medicaid members, which resulted in approximately 275,000 more Medicaid members receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. While in D.C, I also met with members of Congress about the important work our Agency is doing and shared information about the Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program.

As we move further into the holiday season, it’s important to reflect on accomplishments from this year and realize the opportunities we have to collaborate and interact with our stakeholders and partner agencies in the coming year. It is an honor to further the work that is paving the way for a high-quality, transparent, and cost-effective health care delivery system for all Floridians.

Be well, 

Secretary

 

INSIDE AHCA

 

Reinvesting in Florida’s Nursing Homes

As part of the Agency’s continued commitment to Florida’s most vulnerable citizens, we launched the Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment Program in 2005. Since then, this innovative program has reduced adverse events and improved the quality of life for residents in nursing homes across the state.

Civil Money Penalties are monetary penalties, or fines, imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) against nursing facilities that have failed to comply with federal requirements. CMP funds may be reinvested to support activities that benefit nursing home residents and protect or improve their quality of care or quality of life. CMP funds may be used for training, transition assistance due to facility closure and projects supporting resident and family councils.

“These funds support innovative ideas that directly impact the quality of care and improve quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Secretary Simone Marstiller. “I encourage all eligible organizations to apply for CMP funds because they make a difference to long-term care residents and their families.” 

The Agency is accepting applications from qualified entities interested in receiving CMP funds to benefit nursing home residents. Organizations that may qualify include, but are not limited to, consumer advocacy groups, resident or family councils, professional associations, CMS-certified long-term care facilities, vendors, state agencies and academic institutions.

To learn more about the CMP Reinvestment Program, including application instructions and frequently asked questions, visit us online at Nursing Home Civil Money Penalty Reinvestment Projects.

 

Holiday Visitation Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently – and just in time for the holidays – have updated visitation guidance to ensure long-term care facilities, residents, and their families can safely enjoy the upcoming holiday season. These recommendations are addressed to nursing homes but are applicable for assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities as well.


Click here to view the updated CMS visitation recommendations. Please note that CMS clearly states that visitation is now allowed for all residents at all times. 

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) wants to be very clear, long-term care facilities should NOT:

- Require visits to be scheduled in advance.

- Limit time for visits.

- Limit visiting hours.

- Require visits to be supervised by staff or limit visits due to insufficient staff.

- Limit visits to public areas or spaces.

The core principles for COVID-19 Infection Prevention consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should continue to be maintained.

Click here to read more. Click here to view Secretary Marstiller’ s video all of Florida’s long-term health care providers to reiterate the holiday visitation guidance. 

 
Florida Medicaid Open Enrollment is here!

Florida Medicaid Open Enrollment is here! To find out when your Open Enrollment period begins, visit www.flmedicaidmanagedcare.com/ or call the Agency at 877-711-3662.

If your organization is interested in helping spread the word, contact us.

 

FEATURING FLORIDIANS

 

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) is always looking for opportunities to share the great work our health care heroes throughout the state are doing. Julia James is the Pre-Op and post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse with Carillon Surgery Center in Pinellas County, but her care spans further than the ambulatory surgery center (ASC).

Julia’s passion for providing quality care is recognized daily. She is kind and compassionate, a true patient advocate and isn’t afraid to have crucial conversations when needed to ensure zero harm and high-quality care is provided. As a charge nurse, Julia sacrifices herself to accommodate her teams’ scheduling requests, sometimes even canceling her personal appointments to help a fellow nurse.

Julia is a faithful servant leader. She firmly believes in leading by example, often taking on new procedures to help assist her team when needed. Julia also extends her services to other departments. Located in a larger medical building, she is known by everyone as a trusted and reliable source, often being called to assist with difficult IV starts—something out of her current scope of work. She does so gladly to help deliver quality care even though the individual may not be her patient.

Julia has dedicated much of her life to volunteer work. She graciously led the drive-thru COVID swabbing unit during the pandemic and drove the carpool team working at Raymond James Stadium during the inception and height of testing. She often worked overtime and on weekends to help ensure patients were evaluated quickly and efficiently.

When Julia is not representing the surgery center, she can be found leading and participating in mission trips. Julia has traveled to Panama and China to care for underserved populations. There is never a task too difficult or demanding for her. During her trip to China, she assisted in delivering preventative care and even played a role in an open-heart surgery.

Her presence, positive attitude, and selflessness create a culture of accountability and teamwork at the surgery center, which directly impacts positive outcomes. The Agency is honored to recognize Julia for her efforts in providing high-quality health care to the citizens of Pinellas County. 

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

 

Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Legislation to Protect Florida Jobs

Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by Florida Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson to sign legislation that will protect Floridians from losing their jobs due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and protect parents’ rights to make healthcare decisions for students. The bills were passed through a Special Session of the Florida Legislature and are effective upon the Governor’s signature.

Secretary Marstiller Statement on Florida’s Challenge Against the Biden Administration’s Vaccine Mandate

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller issued the following statement in support of Florida’s challenge against the Biden Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule mandating that health care workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

DeSantis Administration Invests $1.1 Billion to Support Home and Community-Based Services for Floridians

With the recent approval of $1.1 billion to support Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), Florida will invest the enhanced funding to allow Florida health care providers to recruit and retain staff to care for the most vulnerable and bolster the ability of Floridians to receive care in a community-based setting. Florida’s HCBS programs serve the state’s aging population, as well as individuals with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.

Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Awarded National Association of Medicaid Directors Spotlight Award for Vaccination Efforts 

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) announced it has been awarded a Spotlight Award from the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) for its work to enhance COVID-19 vaccination rates of Florida Medicaid members.

 

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