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April 12, 2017

LeadingAge Florida Statement on Meeting with Senate Democrats on PPS
LeadingAge Florida released the following statement today, attributable to President and CEO Steve Bahmer, regarding a meeting with the Senate Minority Leader to discuss the proposed Prospective Payment System (PPS) plan for nursing homes that is currently included in the Senate budget.

“On behalf of LeadingAge Florida and the high-quality nursing homes that are our members, I want to thank Leader Oscar Braynon for arranging this morning’s meeting to discuss the Medicaid payment plan included in the Florida Senate’s budget. An open discussion of the proposal and its many flaws was long overdue, and we appreciate Leader Braynon’s willingness to have that discussion. READ MORE


April 5, 2017

LeadingAge Florida, FLiCRA, & Nursing Home Advocates
Urge Caution with Proposed PPS Plan

LeadingAge Florida and Florida Life Care Residents Association (FLiCRA) were joined by advocates of nursing homes from around the state today at a press conference to voice concern over a prospective payment system (PPS) plan that is being considered by the Florida Senate.


CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO



March 6, 2017

Lee Bill Would Cause Unintended Consequences for Seniors
Residents at Florida continuing care retirement communities deserve every protection from fraud, but a bill filed last week by Sen. Tom Lee is not the way to provide that protection, according to LeadingAge Florida, the association that represents retirement communities.

“Although the bill is well-intentioned, it simply needs much more work,” said Steve Bahmer, LeadingAge Florida President and CEO. “It is regulatory overreach that will drive up costs for seniors, inhibit investment in expansion and construction of new communities in Florida, and unnecessarily disrupt a field that has been financially strong for decades.”

SB1430 was developed by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) in response to the questionable behavior and poor management that drove a Tampa retirement community into bankruptcy. Sen. Lee said in the announcement of the bill last week that the management of one retirement community in his district highlighted the need for increased oversight.


March 3, 2017

LeadingAge Florida Statement Regarding the Confirmation of HUD Secretary Ben Carson
The following statement can be attributed to LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer:

LeadingAge Florida congratulates Dr. Ben Carson on his confirmation and swearing-in as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As we address issues concerning affordable senior housing, we appreciate that a physician will be running an agency as important to seniors as HUD. Dr. Carson is uniquely positioned to advocate for the important intersection between safe, affordable housing and healthy aging.


February 22, 2017
LeadingAge Florida Statement Regarding Actions taken by the House Health Care Appropirations Subcommittee
“LeadingAge Florida applauds Chairman Jason Brodeur and the Florida House of Representatives for their decision not to pursue the Navigant plan for nursing home reimbursement,” said LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer. “The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee listened to our members’ concerns and decided that a change this significant deserves additional thoughtful deliberation and further study to prevent unnecessary disruptions in nursing home care. High-quality care for Florida’s seniors was at stake, and the Committee recognized the complexities of the system and the careful balance needed to provide the highest quality of care across a state as diverse as Florida.

LeadingAge Florida looks forward to working with AHCA, the Florida Legislature, and other key stakeholders to develop a fair and equitable reimbursement system focused on quality care. I want to personally thank our members for their hard work in contacting legislators and explaining the potential impact of the Navigant plan on nursing homes, their residents, and their families.”

January 18, 2017
SaintPetersBlog - Steve Bahmer: Nursing home care in Florida has come a long way in the last 30 years
Since the early 1980s, when the state Agency for Health Care Administration conducted its last major overhaul of the Medicaid payment system for nursing homes, the quality of care in Florida nursing homes has vastly improved.

Although there are still exceptions, Florida is no longer home to the flood of nursing home horror stories that Sunshine State residents heard so frequently, and from so many homes, in the early ‘80s.

Improved regulatory oversight at AHCA and a payment system that rewarded nursing homes for providing high-quality care, among other factors, combined to slowly move Florida into the top tier of states in terms of nursing home quality.

In 2014, the organization Families for Better Care gave Florida nursing homes an ‘A’ grade, one of only 10 states to receive that grade, and it rated Florida fifth overall in the country in terms of care quality. In its 2015 rankings of the nation’s best nursing homes, US News & World Report listed Florida behind only California and Ohio for the number of 5-Star nursing homes in the state.

This may all be about to change.

Earlier this month, AHCA submitted a plan to the Governor and the Legislature for a new approach to nursing home Medicaid payments. The plan was intended to establish an equitable payment system that includes incentives for high-quality care, that simplifies the payment process, and that ultimately controls costs and makes legislators’ budgeting for Medicaid spending on nursing homes more predictable.

What the plan will actually do is penalize the nursing homes that for the last three decades have invested in delivering the highest quality of care possible, while rewarding homes that have remained at the bottom of the quality barrel.

Under AHCA’s proposal, 143 nursing homes that are rated as 4 or 5-star homes would lose significant funding. Meanwhile, 86 nursing homes that received a 1 or 2-star rating would receive additional funding. In fact, a single nursing home chain would reap $16.5 million of that unearned windfall.

Clearly, this is neither equitable nor fair. Moreover, the proposal does nothing to control Medicaid spending on long-term care, or even to make budgeting meaningfully more predictable. The Legislature decides when to fund a rate increase for nursing homes, something it has not done since 2011, and the current payment system includes caps and limits on payments.

Quality care costs money, and those costs are largely driven by staffing levels – the number of nurses and nursing assistants who are available at any given time to care for a frail senior in a nursing home. The best way to ensure that nursing home residents receive quick, consistent, quality care is to ensure a sufficient number of skilled, caring, long-tenured staff to provide that care.

Under the AHCA proposal, however, nursing homes with the highest staffing levels would lose funding, while those with the lowest staffing would gain dollars.

Nursing home care is not improved, or even sustained, by stripping funding from those that have invested in delivering high quality and shifting it to those that, for whatever reason, have not chosen to make that investment. Despite claims in earlier news reports, the plan does not require that the low performers spend any of their new money on care, nor is there any mechanism in the plan to ensure that quality improves.

AHCA’s proposal is not likely to achieve any of the agency’s stated goals.

It is likely, however, to reverse 30 years of progress in improving quality in the homes that care for Florida’s most vulnerable seniors, and the Legislature simply must reject it.

January 17, 2017

LeadingAge Florida Members Earn Prestigious Gold Seal Awards for Excellence
The Agency for Healthcare Administration recently announced 11 Gold Seal Award winners - three of the awardees are LeadingAge Florida member communities.

The three LeadingAge Florida communities earning the Gold Seal Award from the Governor’s Panel on Excellence in Long-Term Care include:
     
     • John Knox Village of Pompano Beach, Pompano Beach
     • Joseph L Morse Geriatric Center, Inc., West Palm Beach (Renewal)
     • The Pavilion for Health Care, Penney Farms (Renewal)

Recipients included one new award and two renewals. LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer commended the awardees and commended them for this high accomplishment and distinct honor, “The Gold Seal honors the best of the best in nursing home care - those offering the highest quality of care, and I congratulate these exceptional LeadingAge Florida members for their steadfast commitment of providing quality care to their residents.”

December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays
It’s often difficult to stop moving for a moment and take the time to reflect on all that we have achieved together in the last 12 months. There is simply too much to do to carve out the time. But since this is the last edition of the LeadingLink for 2016, it seems like an appropriate to reflect, if only briefly.

At LeadingAge Florida, our advocacy efforts are as strong as they have ever been, particularly in the face of ill-conceived reimbursement proposals and potentially sweeping regulatory reforms, among other issues. We’ve added Housing, Assisted Living, and CCRC members, and we have plans in place to pursue further member growth in 2017. Member participation in our education programs was up in 2016, and our 2017 agenda includes programs uniquely tailored to every element of our membership. More than 1,000 people now read this newsletter each week, and we’re reaching more than 1,000 others through our social media efforts.

Most importantly, though, our members are engaged in the work of your association, helping us design a broad new agenda for our Housing members, participating in our public policy discussions and public hearings and reaching out to legislators, and providing feedback and advice on innumerable issues throughout the year. You never fail to answer our calls for help, and for that, we are very grateful.

In all, 2016 has been a successful year. But that’s enough looking backward. It’s time to turn our attention to the important work ahead of us, and we look forward to the continuing privilege of engaging in that work on your behalf.

Happy Holidays to you and your families, and thank you for the opportunity to serve. 


November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Message from LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer
As we prepare this week to spend time with family and friends, giving thanks for the blessings in all our lives, we at LeadingAge Florida would like to offer our thanks for the opportunity to serve you. It is axiomatic in our field that the population is aging quickly, and that the infrastructure to serve that growing population is hardly ready, if at all. And yet, we serve members whose mission is to care for them nevertheless, in every circumstance, at the highest possible levels of quality, regardless of the challenges.

It is our privilege to play a small part in this very important work and to be associated with you. Very simply, thank you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 


November 11, 2016

LeadingAge Florida: Honoring All Who Served
The statement below can be attributed to LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer:

We set aside November 11 - to honor the men and women who have served our country in the Armed Forces. On Veterans Day, we celebrate those who have represented our country. We thank them for their service, whether at home or abroad.

From WWII to Korea, from Vietnam to the Cold War and the Gulf War, LeadingAge Florida wants to celebrate and honor these brave souls by telling their stories. Between Veterans Day and Pearl Harbor Day on December 7, LeadingAge Florida will roll out more than 100 Veterans stories of veterans in our member communities.

So, to all our veterans – Thank You. Thank you for all you have done for your nation. Happy Veterans Day. 


October 30, 2016

LeadingAge Florida Sends 140 to 2016 LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO
LeadingAge Florida is sending a delegation of 140 participants to the 2016 LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO in Indianapolis, Indiana. Consisting of members of 56 communities, covering the entire continuum of care – representing Affordable Housing, Assisted Living, CCRCs (Life Plan Communities), Home and Community Based Services, and Nursing Homes, LeadingAge Florida will have a strong presence in Indianapolis. The LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO takes place at the Indiana Convention Center running from October 30 to November 2, 2016.

“The LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO is always a dynamic, exciting event,” said LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer. “While in Indianapolis, LeadingAge Florida members will attend top-notch education sessions, network with colleagues from the other LeadingAge affiliate states, and recommit to creating a society without negative bias towards older adults.”

The 2016 LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO is an opportunity to explore the breadth and depth of the LeadingAge membership. The LeadingAge Florida delegation will use this occasion as a chance to connect with thousands who share our passion for aging services, our commitment to providing a high-quality of care to our residents, and to improving the lives of those we serve. It’s a time to learn new strategies, be the difference, and connect with peers, exchange ideas and share information about issues of specific interest to Florida’s unique senior population.

“At LeadingAge Florida, we provide year round advocacy at both the state and federal levels on issues affecting our members,” said Bruce Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Vicar’s Landing and LeadingAge Florida CCRC Public Policy Chair. “I am looking forward to the ongoing development of LeadingAge’s Public Policy Congress.”

The LeadingAge Public Policy Congress, which represents the membership, focuses on advocacy, creating public policy principles, and serves as the deliberative body of LeadingAge with the responsibility to discuss and recommend public policy principles to the LeadingAge Board of Directors for approval. LeadingAge Florida representatives on the Public Policy Congress are: John Capes; Moosehaven (Orange Park), Peter Dys; Shell Point Retirement Community (Ft. Myers), Lisa Lyons; St. Joseph’s John Knox Village (Tampa), and Janet Stringfellow, Volunteers of America (St. Petersburg). 


October 5, 2016

Bahmer Selected to Serve on Post-Hurricane Recovery Best Practices Task Force
LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer has been selected to represent aging services on the The Post-Hurricane Recovery Best Practices Task Force.

“Steve brings expertise, energy and insight to the task force,” said task force Chair, Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp. “As an association, LeadingAge Florida has a reputation for providing the highest quality of care to their residents – including during natural disasters.”

The Hurricane Post-Recovery Best Practices Task Force is a bi-partisan group of concerned citizens who offer recommendations to local government officials with the goal of improving our community’s preparedness and response to hurricanes and other severe storms. Recommendations will focus on improving organizational structure including the establishment of a clear chain of command; implementing a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan with appropriate coordination between the county and city; improving communications with the public; and prioritizing services to those with the greatest need.

“In the wake of Hurricane Hermine – a storm which left more than 100,000 Tallahassee-area residents without power – LeadingAge Florida worked with Gov. Scott, as well as with County and City officials during and after the storm to assess its impact on aging services providers in the affected area and the recovery efforts that would be necessary,” said Steve Bahmer. “I was in frequent contact with our Mayor and City Commissioners, urging them to prioritize senior care communities in their efforts to restore power to the city.”

“We are working with government officials to ensure that those who are the most vulnerable in Tallahassee, the nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice, and other homes where people rely on power for essential medical care, are a priority in the event something like this happens again,” continued Bahmer. “I look forward to working with the Task Force to be a voice for our senior population.” 


September 21, 2016

LeadingAge Florida Recognizes the Distinguished Career of AHCA Secretary Elizabeth Dudek
On behalf of LeadingAge Florida's 250 members, the following statements can be attributed to President/CEO Steve Bahmer:

"AHCA Secretary Liz Dudek has been a devoted and effective public servant for Florida families for 40 years. Throughout her distinguished career, she has served with passion and dedication and has been tough, but fair in her commitment to quality care for Florida’s seniors,” said LeadingAge Florida President/CEO Steve Bahmer. “Secretary Dudek has been a champion for Florida’s seniors and has been tireless in her efforts to ensure the highest possible quality care. She has always conducted herself with integrity, honesty, and respect. LeadingAge Florida is grateful for her willingness to work collaboratively with us on issues, and to participate in our events that are aimed at good public policy and high quality care. While she will be missed, we look forward to continuing to work with the great team she has built.”
 


September 15, 2016

LeadingAge Florida Recognizes National Caregivers Day
On National Caregivers Day (September 15), LeadingAge Florida would like to recognize the compassionate men and women who serve Florida’s elderly population.

“All across our state, our devoted members serve and assist thousands of Florida seniors every day. National Caregivers Day is a tribute to the hardworking men and women who provide these critical services,” said LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer. “Caregivers provide care and services ranging from personal care to medical services with faith, hope, love and utmost professionalism. On National Caregivers Day, we recognize, applaud, and honor caregivers who provide help to those most in need.”

National Caregivers Day recognizes caregivers provide quality, compassionate care every day. One such caregiver stands out this year - the 2016 LeadingAge Florida Caregiver of the Year – Linda “Fay” Nettles of OakBridge Terrace Assisted Living of Indian River Estates.

Linda was recognized at the 53rd Annual LeadingAge Florida Convention and Exposition for her remarkable service.

In her nomination for the award, Linda was recognized for demonstrating “loving-kindness” in every aspect of her job and her personal life. Caring for others is in every fiber of her being, according to the nomination.

In 2004, Fay’s nephew and his wife were tragically killed in an auto accident, leaving behind two girls under 18 months of age. In 2006, she legally adopted the girls, and she continues working full-time while juggling parental responsibilities. Fay instilled in the girls a great respect for their elders, as they have become a part of the OakBridge Terrace family.

She has a special calling to care for those near the end of life. Nettles demonstrates patience, compassion and love as caregiver and is a terrific role model for others. Fay brings home resident clothes that need a button replaced or a cuff hemmed or just a good ironing.

One of the residents says, “She provides ‘absolute care.’ She truly cares about her residents and is the best we have in Assisted Living. She comes to check on me often to see if I need anything, she is very devoted to her residents – she is conscientious in everything she does.”  


September 6, 2016

SaintPetersBlog: Nursing homes remain in the dark four days after Hurricane Hermine
Residents of two Tallahassee nursing homes languished without electricity Monday, relying on generators to power cooling and critical medical equipment four days after Hurricane Hermine left most of the city in the dark.

Steve Bahmer, president and chief executive officer of LeadingAge Florida, voiced... concerns. His organization represents continuing care retirement communities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities.

He praised Gov. Rick Scott and local authorities for keeping nursing home administrators updated, and electrical line workers “for the hours of hard work they have put in over the past 72 hours.”  


September 6, 2016

Statement Regarding Hurricane Hermine Recovery Efforts at Westminster Oaks Retirement Community
Since Hurricane Hermine barreled through Tallahassee on early Friday morning, LeadingAge Florida and Westminster Oaks Retirement Community have been working with state, county, and city officials for a return to normalcy. Today roads were cleared and power was restored this evening to Westminster Oaks.

“As the community of Tallahassee has banded together to help their neighbors, LeadingAge Florida would like to recognize our state, county, and city leaders for their efforts,” said LeadingAge Florida President/CEO Steve Bahmer. “On behalf of Westminster Oaks, I’d like to thank Gov. Rick Scott and the staff of the Executive Office of the Governor for their leadership and support, Mayor Andrew Gillum and city officials for their consistent updates and responsiveness, and most importantly the linemen for the hours of hard work they have put in over the past 72-hours to restore power to our community. We realize the countless difficult issues to deal with in the aftermath of a hurricane, but our vulnerable seniors should be among the highest priorities with regard to recovery efforts. Our seniors residing in the critical care facilities, and their families concerns are relieved because of the dedication of these workers. However, as we move beyond this situation and prepare for the future, we will continue to stress the importance of prioritizing the needs of our seniors to our community leaders.”
 


September 5, 2016

Celebrate Aging Services Workers on Labor Day
Please attribute the following statement to LeadingAge Florida President/CEO Steve Bahmer:

On Monday, September 5, we pay tribute to the hardworking men and women who drive Florida’s economy. Labor Day is dedicated to the achievements of America’s working families. In addition, at LeadingAge Florida we see this holiday as an opportunity to pay tribute to the particularly unique contributions healthcare workers make for seniors in the Sunshine State.

Our member communities employ thousands of men and women who are dedicated to providing the highest quality senior living experience. They are part of a field which is the second largest source of jobs in Florida, and that proportion will only continue to grow.

On this Labor Day, we are reminded that our state, like many, is not fully prepared for the wave of seniors that is headed our way. More than 3 million people in Florida are 65 and older, with more than 1,000 people moving to Florida every day. This means Florida is adding nearly 70,000 new-resident retirees to its population each year.

Serving those seniors means, in part, finding solutions to fill the 4,500 nursing positions that are currently unfilled in Florida, as well the roughly 48,000 other healthcare jobs that are currently unfilled.

On Labor Day, and every day, LeadingAge Florida celebrates the thousands of compassionate souls who care for seniors all across the state. And we reaffirm our commitment to helping build the infrastructure that will support them in this important work.
 


July 26, 2016

2016 LeadingAge Florida Awards Recognition
Each year LeadingAge Florida recognizes outstanding members, employees, and residents in five categories at the Annual Convention & Exposition. The awards ceremony highlights the best in the aging services field and recognizes outstanding members and communities who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities, employers, and residents.

On Tuesday, July 26, at the Annual Business Meeting, LeadingAge Florida honored six deserving individuals.

“The theme for the 53rd Annual LeadingAge Florida Annual Convention and Exposition was be the difference. Our award winners have been the difference in the communities they represent, in our state, and nationwide. I truly appreciate their passion. Their commitment is second to none,” said LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer.

LeadingAge Florida presented awards in the following categories:
     • Employee/Caregiver of the Year: Linda “Fay” Nettles of OakBridge Terrace
     Assisted Living of Indian River Estates
     • Resident Volunteer of the Year:
 David Quirk, of Penney Retirement
     Community
     • Service Coordinator of the Year:
 Larry Lewis, of Jefferson Center, Inc.
     • Best Practice Award:
 Edgewater Pointe Estates
     • Trustee of the Year Award:
 Paul Simpson, Chairman of the Board of
     Directors of John Knox Village of Florida
     • Distinguished Service Award
: Westminster Alzheimer’s Action Group of
     Westminster Oaks

 


July 20, 2016

Six LeadingAge Florida Members Earn Prestigious Gold Seal Awards for Excellence
The Agency for Healthcare Administration recently announced 11 Gold Seal Award winners - six of the awardees are LeadingAge Florida member communities.

The six LeadingAge Florida communities earning the Gold Seal Award from the Governor’s Panel on Excellence in Long-Term Care include:

     • The Commons at Orlando Lutheran Towers
     • Florida Presbyterian Homes, Inc.
     • River Garden Hebrew Home for the Aged
     • Sunnyside Nursing Center
     • Vicar's Landing
     • Village on the Green

Recipients included one new award and five renewals. River Garden Hebrew Home and Village on the Green have been recognized with their eighth Gold Seal Award. Both have continuously held this recognition since it was created in 2002. This is the seventh time Florida Presbyterian Homes and Sunnyside Nursing Home have earned the award. This is Vicar's Landing fifth time receiving the Gold Seal Award. This is Orlando Lutheran Towers first Gold Seal Award.

LeadingAge Florida President & CEO Steve Bahmer congratulated the awardees for this high accomplishment and honor, “The Gold Seal honors the best in nursing home care, and I congratulate these outstanding LeadingAge Florida members for their unwavering commitment to quality.”

The Gold Seal Award recognizes nursing home communities for providing excellent in long-term care in Florida. The Governor’s Gold Seal Award recognizes nursing homes that demonstrate the highest standards of quality of life and care for their residents.

 


 

March 11, 2016

LeadingAge Florida Statement Regarding 2016 Legislative Session
The following statement can be attributed to LeadingAge Florida President | CEO Steve Bahmer:

I am proud of the efforts of LeadingAge Florida’s advocacy lobbying team. We had a very successful Legislative Session on behalf of Florida’s seniors, including improvements to the Governor’s Gold Seal Program, expansion of access to care for seniors, and efforts to deal with workforce shortages in long-term care.

Additionally, the FY 16-17 budget includes $500,000 for a study of the Medicaid reimbursement system for nursing homes. LeadingAge Florida worked hard in support of the appropriation to fund the study, and we look forward to being actively involved in the development of a fair, equitable reimbursement system that has quality care at its core.

LeadingAge Florida and our members were pleased that AHCA Secretary Liz Dudek and DOEA Secretary Sam Verghese were confirmed. It was an honor to have both of these agency leaders participate in our Advocacy In Action Day in February.
 


March 9, 2016

 
LeadingAge Florida Applauds Sen. Stargel & Rep. Cummings For Sponsoring CCRC Gold Seal Bill

Tallahassee, Fla. — LeadingAge Florida’s top legislative priority for the 2016 Session, regarding Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) and the modification of the Gold Seal Program, passed the Legislature and was signed by Gov. Scott this week. This legislation was filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and Rep. Travis Cummings (R-Jacksonville) on behalf of LeadingAge Florida.

The new law took effect immediately upon the signature of the Governor.

Steve Bahmer, President & CEO of LeadingAge Florida, applauded the sponsors of the bill for fighting for high-quality when it comes to providing care to seniors.

“Sen. Stargel and Rep Cummings are exceptional public servants and advocates for Florida’s seniors. This legislation maintains the rigorous quality standards of the Gold Seal Program, while streamlining its financial components in sensible ways,” said Bahmer. “Further, I commend Gov. Scott and the bill sponsors for supporting LeadingAge Florida’s efforts to support communities trusted with providing quality care to Florida’s seniors.”



Steve Bahmer: Legislature Must Provide Sufficient Money for Housing for Seniors
The following Guest Column by LeadingAge Florida President/CEO Steve Bahmer ran in Context Florida on February 18, 2016. The column highlights LeadingAge Florida's efforts to fight for affordable senior housing:

It’s no secret that Florida has a high population of seniors. The quintessential Florida lifestyle has long been a favorite of retirees. But as we age, we encounter new expenses ranging from medical bills to unexpected home repairs, leaving many who are on fixed incomes at risk of losing their home or in search of affordable housing.

Fortunately, there are federal and state programs designed to help Florida’s seniors maintain independence. Specifically, the Sadowski programs come to mind, since the Florida Legislature is heading toward budget negotiations.

In fact, affordable housing for older Floridians has been a mainstay of the Sadowski programs from the time they were created. The State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program has allowed thousands of elderly homeowners to stay in their homes by providing money for emergency repairs and accessibility retrofits, while 10 percent of the funds for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program are set aside for rental developments that serve elderly households.

This is why we, at LeadingAge Florida, became a member of the Sadowski Housing Coalition, joining them in advocating for all housing trust fund monies to go toward Florida’s affordable housing programs.

Thus, we are heartened by the Florida Senate’s recommendation to direct all housing trust fund monies toward housing. We request they hold firm on their position and not waver during the budget negotiation process.

Unfortunately, the Florida House did not recommend the same funding levels. As such, we encourage House members to stand in support of affordable housing and adopt the Senate’s funding position.

Affordable housing should be a priority for our state where, according to 2014 Census, nearly one in five Floridians is over the age of 65 and the elderly population is projected to grow. Almost without exception, LeadingAge Florida housing members have long and growing waiting lists of seniors in search of safe, affordable housing.

In many cases, those seniors can expect to wait a minimum of three to five years. When you take into consideration that between the 2006-07 and 2011-12 fiscal years, SHIP assisted more than 8,300 households headed by someone age 62 or older, the tremendous need cannot be denied.

At LeadingAge Florida, we aim to expand the possibilities for aging through advocating for affordable housing practices and policies, among others, that help Florida’s seniors maintain their independence.

We hope both the Senate and House keep in mind the important role that affordable housing and independent living play in the lives of Florida’s seniors and find common ground. And we encourage the Legislature to adopt a budget that ensures all housing trust fund monies go toward addressing Florida’s housing crisis.
 


 

 

 


October 28, 2015

 

LeadingAge Florida Announces Susan C. Langston as VP of Advocacy

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today LeadingAge Florida announced the addition of Susan C. Langston as Vice President of Advocacy.

Langston comes to LeadingAge Florida from the Florida Assisted Living Association, where she served for five years as the Director of Government Affairs, and concurrently served as the Chief Operating Officer for the last year and a half. Langston previously served as Executive Director of the Florida Telecommunications Industry Association.

“I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for LeadingAge Florida,” Langston said. “I look forward to bringing my executive, legislative, and project management experience to LeadingAge Florida. In conjunction with our public policy and lobbying team, I want to build on LeadingAge Florida’s record of effective advocacy on behalf of Florida’s seniors.”

Langston’s responsibilities at LeadingAge Florida include policy development, strategic planning, research, and legislative oversight.

“Having served for more than 13 years in various capacities in the Florida Legislature, Susan’s experience strengthens LeadingAge Florida’s position as the leading advocate for the full continuum of aging services in Florida,” said Steve Bahmer, LeadingAge Florida President and CEO. “Susan’s extensive legislative and government experience will prove invaluable to LeadingAge Florida, and we are thrilled to welcome her to our team.”

Established in 1963, LeadingAge Florida is the only statewide association representing the full continuum of care for seniors; serving more than 250 mission-driven communities trusted with providing quality care and services. LeadingAge Florida promotes practices that support, enable and empower people to live fully as they age.

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October 12, 2015

Greg Ungru Joins LeadingAge Florida

Tallahassee, FL— LeadingAge Florida announced today the addition of Greg Ungru as Director of Communications. Ungru brings 15 years of private sector, non-profit, and political experience— having held leadership positions at the Republican Party of Florida, the Florida Sports Foundation and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“Greg has established himself as an effective communicator and brings to this position an entrepreneurial approach, along with a wealth of experience in political communications and messaging that will assist LeadingAge Florida in its efforts to showcase its members and their commitment to high quality care and services for the elderly,” said LeadingAge Florida President/CEO Steve Bahmer. “Greg has insight into the implementation, grassroots and communications aspects of politics. His experience, combined with his existing relationships in state and local government, make him a perfect addition to our team.”

In his role at LeadingAge Florida, Ungru is responsible for LeadingAge Florida’s internal and external communications, including planning, message development, platform management, and delivery of Association messages.

“I am thrilled to join the LeadingAge Florida team,” said Ungru. “Like Steve, I am passionate about working with the LeadingAge Florida members on various issues affecting seniors, and I look forward to bringing my knowledge to find creative solutions and maximize results. This experience provides me the opportunity to help take LeadngAge Florida to the next level.”

Established in 1963, LeadingAge Florida is the only statewide association representing the full continuum of care for seniors; serving nearly 400 mission-driven communities trusted with providing quality care and services. LeadingAge Florida promotes practices that support, enable and empower people to live fully as they age.

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