The Florida Legislature recognized the urgency to modernize nursing center staffing and overwhelmingly approved HB1239 by Rep. Lauren Melo (R-Naples)/Sen. Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) enabling residents to receive more specialized care from highly trained professionals.
We have reported on many occasions that the long term care workforce crisis has been a major challenge for nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country. Thankfully, this bill will offer assistance while ensuring Florida residents receive the highest care possible.
To put the staffing crisis in perspective, since 2020, the industry has lost 420,000 employees across the continuum. In 2021, 92 percent of Florida nursing centers reported worker shortages. Recent data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed the long term care workforce is the lowest it has been in 15 years. We applaud the Florida Legislature for working with the long term care community in a bipartisan effort on behalf of our older Floridians.
"American Senior Alliance continues to advocate for affordable quality care in our long term care facilities and this bill exceeds our rigorous standards," said AmSA, Executive Director, Conwell Hooper. "The pandemic decimated the long term care workforce and with staffing agencies driving up the cost of employee's, it is extremely difficult to demand quality care without the workforce available. We believe this legislation will eliminate some of the pressure providers are experiencing while allowing more personalized care including mental health services, therapeutic and rehabilitation care, spiritual services and counseling for residents."
Even though there were a few opponents to this legislation, we trust Emmett Reed and the Florida Health Care Association will continue their record setting pace of Malcolm Baldrige National Gold, Silver and Bronze Quality Award Winners. If at any point that extraordinary push for high quality care diminishes, there is no doubt the Florida Justice Association will step in.