Health care providers thank the Legislature and Governor for upcoming Medicaid increases

2 behavioral health-related groups also praised the Governor for the budget.

Money flowed to many health care providers this year, and they were quick to thank Gov. Ron DeSantis for signing the Fiscal Year 2024-25 budget.

The budget, along with the ambitious Live Healthy proposal, will bring increases in funding for those who provide care to the poor, elderly and disabled and help fortify the state’s health care delivery system.

The budget includes a $247.8 million Medicaid increase for Florida’s nursing home providers. The Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), a “federation that represents 86% of the state’s nursing centers and other long term care facilities” issued a statement lauding the Legislature for appropriating the funding and the Governor for signing the budget.

“The state budget provides an 8% increase ($247.8 million) in Medicaid funding, amounting to nearly $470,000 per center, per year to support the state’s nursing centers with meeting the growing demand for qualified caregivers and the needs of Florida’s vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities,” read a statement from the FHCA.

“Once again, Governor DeSantis has shown his commitment to Florida’s seniors and the people who care for them,” said FHCA Chief Executive Officer Emmett Reed. “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.”

“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,” Reed added.

While Medicaid increases for nursing homes were included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA), hospital funding increases were included in the Live Healthy Act, which the Governor had already signed.

Nevertheless, Mary C. Mayhew, President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association also lauded the Governor for signing the budget.

“These appropriations, many driven by the ground-breaking Live Healthy package, will go a long way toward increasing access to timely, high-quality health care for all Floridians close to home,” Mayhew said.

She added that “hospitals across the Sunshine State are on the front lines each day, striving to meet residents’ growing demand for health care. By funding the education and training of health care professionals, integrating behavioral health care services into traditional health care settings and local communities, and bolstering infrastructure such as the Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program and critical services like maternal health care, this budget is vital for strengthening Florida’s health care delivery system and ensuring the health and well-being of every Floridian.”

Two behavioral health related groups also praised the Governor for the budget. The Governor and First Lady Casey DeSantis are credited for increasing mental health related issues.

Florida delivers much of its mental health services outside of the Medicaid program. To that end, there are services provided outside of contracted Medicaid managed care plans. Seven “managing entities” comprising 300 behavioral health care providers deliver services to more than 2 million Floridians, including children, expectant mothers, veterans and the chronically homeless.

“Governor DeSantis and First Lady DeSantis have remained steadfast in their commitment not only to funding, but also to supporting innovative and streamlined behavioral health services so Floridians can live life to their fullest potential,” said Natalie K. Kelly CEO of the Florida Association of Managing Entities, which represents the local managing entities.

Florida Behavioral Healthcare Association (FBHA) President and CEO Melanie Brown-Woofter, whose association represents nearly 70 community mental health and substance use disorder providers, also praised the Governor and the Legislature.

“FBHA extends its gratitude to Governor Ron DeSantis for continuing to lead the charge in making mental well-being a priority for all Floridians,” Brown-Woofter said. “On behalf of FBHA’s nearly 70 community mental health and substance use disorder providers, we are grateful to the Governor, First Lady Casey DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for their incredible commitment and investment in Florida’s most vulnerable communities.”

The budget also increases by $1 million funding to help eradicate the world’s deadliest creature in medium and small counties.

The Florida Mosquito Control Association (FMCA) also thanked those who made it happen.

“As national weather forecasters expect an active hurricane season, these funds will be put to good use, helping enhance the efforts and control methods used by dedicated mosquito control professionals over the course of mosquito season,” FMCA President Richard Weaver said in a statement.

“Mosquitoes don’t recognize county boundaries, and this recurring investment, the first increase in over a decade, will help to ensure that all Floridians, businesses, and visitors can enjoy our state’s unparalleled natural beauty. We also thank the Florida Legislature and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson, whose support and in-depth knowledge of mosquito control benefits our entire state.”