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Florida ALFs Face Rising Costs, Skilled-Worker Shortage

April 12, 2019 - 9:00am

The Tallahassee-based Florida Assisted Living Association (FALA) announced Thursday dire findings from a study that found Florida’s more than 3,000 ALFs facing challenges in collecting revenue and finding skilled workers to fill vacancies. 

The new study completed by the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) has found that as the need for ALF services in Florida increases, so are the cost and challenges faced by the ALF providers. Fifty-one percent of providers surveyed said they experienced bureaucratic processes with Medicaid health plans that resulted in a loss of revenue for their assisted living facility.

“If Florida wants to remain an attractive place for our increasing elderly population, then we must invest in making sure people have access to quality health care in our state,” said Shad Haston, CEO of FALA. “This study raises awareness of the burden being placed on our ALF communities and will hopefully encourage our legislators to take the appropriate course of action.”

FALA commissioned BEBR to conduct a study examining the cost of Florida’s ALFs incur to provide care, the challenges they face when collecting revenue, and to gather opinions from the general population about long term health. To complete the study, BEBR developed and administered both an online and a phone survey of ALF providers and Florida adults.

Here are the study's pertinent finding:

  • During  2018,  72.5 percent of  ALFs in Florida had  trouble finding skilled  workers  to  fill vacancies. In most cases, facilities raised wages or increased benefits to attract/retain good employees, particularly, direct care employees.

  • More than half of the facilities reported having experienced a loss of revenue due to bureaucratic processes with Medicaid health plans.

  • More  than  one-third  of  the  facilities  were  not  able  to  collect  revenue  because  the administrative costs involved were too high. The main sources of revenue loss reported were Medicaid LTC Program health plans and Medicaid (MMA) Program.

  • The cost of liability insurance, property taxes, and utilities increased between fiscal years

  • 2016 and 2017. Property taxes paid increased by 140 percent, and liability insurance premiums and utility costs increased by 27.6 and 14.1 percent respectively.

  • Nearly three‐fourths of the survey respondents obtained a loan in the last two years.

  • Although more than half had multiple reasons for obtaining a loan, the most common reason was to comply with the new power generator rule.

  • Seventy-six percent of the general public agreed that the State of Florida should increase the budget for the Medicaid Long Term Care Program when more money is needed to pay for ALF care of low-income seniors.

For access to the study, click here

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