Since the beginning of the new year, American Senior Alliance has been active in the sunshine state fighting to ensure Florida's senior citizens residing in our nursing homes and assisted living communities continue receiving quality care at affordable prices.
The dependable services that we fight for on a daily basis for our older Americans are under attack by the trial lawyers, so we decided to weigh in and have done so at two Constitution Revision Committee meetings in Tallahassee. It is imperative that those 65 plus representing almost 20% of the Florida population understand that if Proposal 88 passes the Constitution Revision Committee, it could put their quality care and affordable-dependable services at risk.
AmSA has clearly stated on many occasions, we support quality care, dependable services at affordable prices for our most vulnerable elder population. It is quite obvious Proposal 88 is simply about giving trial lawyers greater access to file lawsuits against nursing centers and assisted living facilities. Should the Constitution Revision Committee approve Proposal 88 to make it easier for trial lawyers to sue long term care providers, it is certain to increase costs and jeopardize the extraordinary care Florida seniors have enjoyed over the last decade. We testified on January 11th and again on January 19th that this proposal would cost our seniors and families dearly and we encourage you to tell the CRC members to vote NO on Proposal 88.
On January 31st, we testified in the Florida House Appropriations committee that we fully support Governor Rick Scott's emergency legislative proposal requiring generators in long term care facilities, but those significant upgrades come with a hefty price tag. We are fortunate that 78% of the Florida nursing centers that care for our senior citizens have a 4 or 5 star CMS rating for overall quality. Additionally, almost 40% of the nursing centers received the Baldridge-based National Quality Award. Florida's nursing centers have an impressive track record caring for nearly 73,000 frail elders and individuals with disabilities. Most of the nursing home residents require 24-hour complex medical care and many have cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer's or dementia. Over 60% of skilled nursing center residents rely on Medicaid to pay for their long term care needs and statistics show that Medicaid under funds nursing home care in Florida by $415,000 per center annually.
With Florida nursing homes devoting 70% of their operating expenses to labor to take care of our vulnerable seniors, our long term care providers struggle with their excessive operating costs to cover labor, physical plant upgrades and the increased use of medical technologies that far exceed Medicaid reimbursements. The results speak for themselves and we can't afford to interfere with the success. To ensure we maintain record performance for our seniors, we are encouraging our Florida House and Senate members to please consider increased funding for the nursing centers, so they can continue the tremendous progress they've experienced over the last decade. Increased funding will ensure the quality advancements being made in Florida's nursing center care will continue well into the future. We believe our vulnerable seniors deserve it!