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Friday, January 30, 2009

Florida nursing homes will gain funds despite big state budget cuts

TALLAHASSEE - Florida's 460-plus nursing homes will be an exception in the state Legislature's massive budget cuts to education and health care: They'll come away with more money, not less.

Nursing homes had been facing a 10-percent Medicaid rate reduction for the low-income patients they serve — a cut that would amount to $77 million over the next six months.

But House and Senate negotiators Saturday agreed to let the nursing homes use some federal budgetary alchemy to offset that cut, as well as previous reductions imposed in 2008.

By assessing a 5 percent "quality assessment" fee on themselves beginning in April, the homes can draw down more federal funds and create a total of $166 million, thanks to Florida's 55-45 percent federal-state funding formula for the health insurance program for the poor. read more...

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