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Health News Florida

Long-Term Care Facilities Get Break On Payments

A walker rests beside a small nursing home bed.
iStock

Florida long-term care providers are getting a reprieve from having to pay more than $72 million in “assessments” to the state.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew on Thursday issued an emergency order delaying a deadline for nursing homes and intermediate care facilities for people with developmental disabilities to pay March and April health-quality assessment  taxes.

The facilities for people with developmental disabilities will have until June 15 to submit two months of taxes to the state under terms of the emergency order. It was not immediately clear how much money the facilities owed.

Nursing homes will have until June 20 to submit their March and April quality assessment taxes. Florida Health Care Association Director of Reimbursement Tom Parker said the bill for the two months will exceed $72 million. Florida law authorizes the state to levy a tax, or assessment, on most care provided by the facilities that is not funded by Medicare.

The state uses the money to help draw down supplemental federal Medicaid dollars. The law requires that the dollars be redirected back to the long-term care facilities and not be diverted for other purposes. Mayhew’s order makes clear that no late fees will be assessed against the providers so long as they continue to properly report census information to the state.

Fees will be assessed on outstanding balances not paid by the new deadlines. Nursing homes welcomed the news Thursday.

“These extensions in the short term are very helpful, as providers continue to experience significant cash flow challenges in responding to COVID-19, including staff overtime, hero pay, agency staff, and increased (personal protective equipment) and cleaning supplies,” Florida Health Care Association spokeswoman Kristen Knapp said in a statement.

“We continue to work with state and federal partners on increased reimbursement to help cover these increased costs, but in the meantime, we appreciate AHCA for recognizing providers’ financial challenges in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.”