2018 Legislative Session—Stay Informed!
This is our weekly Legislative Update/Recap report that will continue through the end of Session. Included with this report is the latest copy of the LeadingAge Florida Legislative Bill Tracking Report.
Activity on LeadingAge Florida Priority Bills
Continuing Care Communities
SB 438 by Sen. Lee/HB 783 by Rep. J. Grant
LeadingAge Florida expects to support an amendment that will be filed to HB 783 by Rep. J. Grant (R-Tampa) that addresses issues raised by our members. LeadingAge Florida supports legislation that provides a balanced approach to reform of chapter 651, F.S., relating to continuing care contracts. The amendment:
- Provides enhanced regulatory authority to the Office of Insurance Regulation to protect residents in continuing care retirement communities by providing financial triggers for OIR to use to identify and take corrective action against a financially challenged continuing care retirement community early enough to avoid a bankruptcy or insolvency.
- Provides changes to the process for a certificate of authority, an expansion and an acquisition, among other things, that would result in a less burdensome application process for providers.
- Provides enhanced disclosure of information to residents.
HB 783 is scheduled to be heard in the first committee of reference on January 30.
SB 438 was amended in its first committee of reference when a strike everything amendment that represented policy changes proposed by the Office of Insurance Regulation during the 2017 Session, FLiCRA, on behalf of residents, and LeadingAge Florida, representing providers, passed the committee. The second committee of reference for this bill is not scheduled to meet until February 8.
Hurricane Preparedness, Response and Recovery
After Hurricanes Irma and Nate battered nearly the entire state, several bills were filed that, in part:
- Place requirements on nursing homes and assisted living facilities regarding emergency generators.
- Require the Agency for Health Care Administration to determine compliance with emergency power requirements through unannounced inspections.
- Treat nursing homes and ALFs as priorities for power restoration.
- Create the Florida Strategic Fuel Reserve Task Force within the Division of Emergency Management to develop a recommended strategic fuel reserve for natural emergencies and major disasters.
- Prohibit workers from being fired for following mandatory evacuation orders.
- Create the Emergency Power Systems Matching Grant Program to provide matching funds to certain public and private health care facilities for purchasing generators.
- Mandate that tolls be suspended in counties with a declared state of emergency.
Further, the House Speaker created a Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness, chaired by Rep. Jeanette Nuñez (R - Miami), to address hurricane-related issues. After several Select Committee meetings with hours of testimony from residents, local officials and industry groups, the Select Committee published 78 proposals to protect the state from future natural disasters.
Recommendations are included in the report relating to transportation and evacuation, education, healthcare, and utilities, among others. The Select Committee report included recommendations requiring nursing homes to have adequate backup power, providing special funding for affordable housing, providing potential cut taxes for the state’s agriculture industry, requiring local governments to work with utilities to speed up power restoration, and providing for the recruitment and training of more shelter volunteers.
To date, few hurricane-related bills have been heard. SB 818 by Senator Powell (D-West Palm Beach) provides an exemption from toll payments for motor vehicles during a state of emergency declared by the Governor. The bill passed its first committee of reference this week.
SB 1874 by Sen. Passidomo (R-Naples), relating to Emergency Power for Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facilities, is scheduled to be heard on January 30. The bill requires, by June 1, 2018, each facility to have an operational emergency power source and fuel to sustain an air temperature set in rule for at least 96 hours. The bill also requires that each facility have a plan to monitor residents to ensure that they do not suffer from complications from heat exposure and a plan to safely transport residents to an appropriate facility if the facility’s management knows it will be unable to sustain safe temperatures.
An amendment has been filed to the bill requiring all ALFs to install an operational carbon monoxide alarm approved by the Florida Building Commission.
LeadingAge Florida is working with the Florida Health Care Association on an amendment to create a uniform standard for nursing homes and ALFs statewide by preempting local governments from adopting more stringent standards than those set at the state level.
SB 1592 by Sen. Grimsley (R-Lake Placid) relating to Emergency Energy Equipment Sales Tax exemption, provides an exemption from sales & use tax for generators at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, which is limited to $30,000 for the purchase of equipment at any one facility. The bill passed its first committee of reference. HB 803 by Rep. Roth (R-Palm Beach Gardens) has not yet been heard.
Activity on LeadingAge Florida Monitored Bills
HB 483 by Rep. Yarborough and SB 762 by Sen. Mayfield amend the Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act that provides an extensive list of unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts prohibited in the business of insurance.
Included in this provision of law are prohibitions on certain inducements to the purchase of insurance; however, there are also exceptions provided by law. Among the exceptions is authorization for insurers and their agents to offer and make gifts of merchandise up to $25 per gift to an insured, prospective insured, or any person, for the purpose of advertising. This exception restricts the value of the advertising gift to $25, but it does not limit the frequency of giving or the aggregate value of gifts given over any period of time.
The bill expands the exception for advertising gifts to:
- Allow gifting of goods, wares, store gift cards, gift certificates, event tickets, anti-fraud or loss mitigation services, and other items, in addition to merchandise.
- Authorize charitable contributions in the name of insureds or prospective insureds, up to the specified limit.
- Remove the limitation that the gifts be for advertising purposes.
- Increase the maximum allowed value from $25 to $100 per customer or prospective customer.
- Limit the total value given to any customer or prospective customer to $100 in one calendar year.
HB 483 was amended in its last committee of reference this week and has been placed on the House Special Order Calendar. SB 762 has passed its first committee of reference.
HB 551 by Rep. Burton and SB 906 by Sen. Young provide a public records exemption for health care facilities for building plans, blueprints, schematic drawings, & diagrams of certain health care facilities.
Current law provides an exemption from public records for building plans, blueprints, schematic drawings and diagrams that depict the internal layout or structural elements of an attractions and recreation facility, entertainment or resort complex, industrial complex, retail and service development, office development, or hotel or motel development held by an agency. These bills expand the exemption to hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, nursing homes, hospices, or intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled.
HB 551 has passed all of its committees of reference and is on the House Calendar. SB 906 passed its first committee of reference this week and is on the agenda for the second committee of reference on January 30.
HB 259 b Rep. Watson and SB 422 by Sen. Gibson relating to Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams authorize the creation of a multidisciplinary, multiagency elder abuse fatality review team (EA-FRT) in each judicial circuit to review closed cases where the death of an elderly person was alleged or found to have been caused by, or related to, abuse or neglect. There are public records exemption bills tied to these bills that make records held or created by the elder fatality review teams confidential and exempt from the public records laws. It also allows a team to close portions of its meeting where confidential information is discussed.
SB 259 was amended and passed in its first committee of reference. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the second committee of reference on January 30th. SB 422 has passed two committees of reference and is now in its last committee of reference, the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Both chambers unveiled their health and social services related budget proposals this week. The highlights are itemized below.
House – Chairman’s Proposal
- Funding for all caseloads increases
- No cost of living increase for nursing homes
- Long-Term Care Waiver wait list reduction - 113 clients, $4.7 million
- Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative wait list reduction - 264 clients, $3 million
- Community Care for the Elderly wait list reduction – 231 clients, $1.9 million
- Home Care for the Elderly wait list reduction – 215 clients, $0.8 million
- PACE expansion – 30 additional slots each in Miami-Dade, Lee, Collier, Charlotte, and Orange counties
Senate – Chairman’s Proposal
- Reduces retroactive Medicaid eligibility to 30 days
- Funding for all caseload increases
- Nursing home payment adjustment - $130.4 million
- Nursing home payment transition - $9.8 million
- Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative wait list reduction - 264 clients, $3 million
- Community Care for the Elderly wait list reduction – $4.0 million
- Home Care for the Elderly wait list reduction – $1.0 million
- PACE expansion - $20.1 million, including an additional PACE site in Miami-Dade
The Senate proposal of a $130 million nursing home payment adjustment is directed toward increasing the Quality Incentive from 6% to 7.5%, and increasing the Direct Care Price under the Prospective Payment System from 100% of the median to 105% of the median. The Senate proposal does not specify how to utilize the $9.8 million for the transition to PPS. We assume that all of the previously defined provisions for hold harmless and other transition issues are retained as passed by the 2017 Legislature.
The House has not released its proviso language and conforming bills. Additional details will emerge once these documents become public.
The next step in this process is the release of the complete Appropriations Act and related conforming and implementing bills by early next week. The House is expected to pass its budget bills by February 8. Subsequent to the passage of the Senate budget, conference committees will be appointed to resolve funding and policy differences. Barring unforeseen issues, the compromise budget and related bills are expected to pass by the end of February.
For additional information or questions regarding budget proposals, contact Erwin Bodo, LeadingAge Florida Reimbursement Specialist, via email.
A Week in Review – News from the Capitol
by Leslie Dughi
Director of Government Law and Policy, GreenbergTraurig
This week, the House and Senate rolled out their respective budget proposals in anticipation of next week’s approval by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Lawmakers, agency heads and lobbyists will comb over the documents in preparation for the meetings next Wednesday where a vote will be taken. Approving a budget is the only constitutional duty of the Florida Legislature during session.
The House approved a proposed constitutional amendment late in the week which would require two-thirds vote, a supermajority, by the House and the Senate to increase taxes and fees. The Senate version calls for a lower threshold, three-fifths vote, and the measure only applies to taxes, not fees. A similar proposal, calling for a two-thirds vote for both taxes and fees, is being advanced by the Constitutional Revision Commission, the group appointed every 20 years to develop additions or deletions to the State Constitution that will be put before voters in the 2018 General Election.
A Senate proposal that creates a program to allow the parent of a bullied public school student an opportunity to transfer the student to another public school or to receive a scholarship to attend an eligible private school advanced this week. The measure, sponsored by Senate President Designate Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), was approved on a 6 to 4 vote in committee with Republicans voting for and Democrats voting against it.