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Bryan Ávila wants to know why nursing homes, hospitals always seek more money

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The lawmaker pondered whether Florida nursing homes have a viable business model.

The state may be flush in money, but the Chairman of the House Health Care Spending Committee says accountability still matters.

Rep. Bryan Ávila on Tuesday pressed Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller on spending recommendations included in the proposed legislative budget floated by her boss, Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Among other things, DeSantis’s proposed health care budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023 budget recommended the state continue to provide rate enhancements to hospitals that provide the most amount of Medicaid in the state. The Governor also recommended the Legislature spend an additional $185 million to increase reimbursement rates for Florida’s 690 skilled nursing facilities.

The decision to keep the rate enhancements intact reverses a decision by the Florida Legislature last year to eliminate the money. The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida has dubbed the enhanced payments the “Critical Care Fund.”

Ávila noted that hospitals received $3 billion in federal CARES funding and are set to benefit from a new $1.8 billion supplemental Medicaid program the Legislature created last year called “direct provider payments.”

Given that, Ávila asked Marstiller, “What is the rationale for restoring those automatic rate enhancements?”

Marstiller told Ávila that federal CARES funding isn’t recurring and said hospitals continue to see the costs of care increase. Moreover, she noted that hospitals are facing staffing shortages.

Consequently, she said the Governor “has not recommended any rate decreases for them.”

Marstiller also explained that the new supplemental payment program helps hospitals bridge the difference between the costs of providing care and Medicaid reimbursements. She said the funding also helps hospitals train their workforce.

Ávila noted the funding targeted for the critical care fund could be used, though, to help abate a workforce shortage instead.

“Wouldn’t those funds within the hospital rate enhancements be better served in tackling issues like staffing?” Ávila asked Marstiller. ” Which one is a greater need?”

Marstiller tried to avoid answering the question directly but when Ávila pressed again she said, “I would hate to say that we should or have to choose one over the other. These are all critical issues for your hospitals.”

Ávila also pressed Marstiller about the Governor’s recommended increases for nursing homes, noting the Legislative Budget Commission approved a three-month, $104 million increase in nursing home rates.

Marstiller said the temporary bump expired in January. Moreover, she said that nursing homes — where residents’ care is primarily paid for by Medicaid — are facing critical staffing issues. Nursing staff, she said, are “falling off in droves.”

“We have to make sure those nursing homes can continue to run,” Marstiller said, adding that when skilled nursing facilities fall below the mandating staffing requirements, they are required to place a moratorium on accepting new residents.

Ávila, though, didn’t seem sympathetic and said the Legislature is annually asked to increase rates.

“It almost seems like the agency should be having frank conversations with the industry, and saying either you need to diversify your business model or it’s just not a functioning business model anymore,” Ávila said. “Have those conversations been taking place? Because it almost feels like the nursing home industry — as well as the hospitals — always comes back and it’s always a problem. It’s always a need for more money.”

Marstiller said she routinely speaks with the nursing home industry, but that she’d be happy to “jump start” conversations.

Ávila noted it’s important to make sure the state is accountable for its spending.

“Ultimately, a dollar that goes somewhere, to probably somewhere it shouldn’t go, is preventing it from going to someone who really needs it, particularly in health care,” Ávila said.


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New York Governor Blames ‘Illegal Gun’ in Fatal Shooting of NYPD Officer

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) blamed an “illegal gun” in the fatal shooting of NYPD officer Jason Rivera on Friday night.

Rivera, 22, was shot and killed and a second officer, Wilbert More, 27, was shot and wounded, Breitbart News reported.

The shooting suspect, Lashawn McNeil, 47, opened fire on Rivera and More as they approached him in a long hallway, CBS New York noted. McNeill was then shot twice by a third officer.

On Saturday, Hochul tweeted, “Last night, a shot from an illegal gun took the life of a NYPD officer.” 

Last night, a shot from an illegal gun took the life of a @NYPDnews officer.

When I say we’re going to do everything we can to stop the scourge of illegal guns in our state, it’s not just talk. We are tripling funding for efforts to get these guns off the streets. pic.twitter.com/zXv0xbL4Em

— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) January 22, 2022

“When I say we’re going to do everything we can to stop the scourge of illegal guns in our state, it’s not just talk. We are tripling funding for efforts to get these guns off the streets,” Hochul added.

New York Mayor Eric Adams (D) responded to the shooting death of Rivera by calling for more gun control, Breitbart News reported

New York has some of the most stringent gun controls in the country. Mike Bloomberg-affiliated Everytown for Gun Safety ranks New York No. 3 in the nation “for gun law strength.”

Those laws include everything the Democrats are pushing at the federal level under the guise of safety, including universal background checks, a “high capacity” magazine ban, an “assault weapons” ban, a permit requirement to buy a handgun, a red flag law, gun storage requirements, “ghost gun” regulations, and a prohibition against gun possession by felons, among other controls.

McNeil, the man who allegedly shot the NYPD officers Friday night, is a convicted felon.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

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Gingrich: January 6 Committee, AG Garland ‘Lynch Mob’ ‘Face a Real Risk of Jail for the Kind of Laws They Are Breaking’

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sees alleged abuses by the House Select Committee and the Department of Justice investigating the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol as having consequences.

During an appearance on FNC’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Gingrich suggested those who he said were misusing and abusing the process could “face a real risk of jail” for the laws they had broken during the so-called investigation.

“Well, you have, both with Attorney General Garland and with this select committee on January 6, people who have run amok,” he said. “They are breaking the rules. They are going after people in a way which is reminiscent of the British monarchy using closed-door systems that we outlawed deliberately because we’d seen it. We knew what it was like. And they’re running over people’s civil liberties. And what they need to understand is, on January 4 next year, you’re going to have a Republican majority in the House and a Republican majority in the Senate.”

“And all these people who’ve been so tough and so mean and so nasty are going to be delivered subpoenas for every document, every conversation, every tweet, every email, because I think it’s clear that this — these are people who are literally just running over the law, pursuing innocent people, causing them to spend thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees, for no justification,” Gingrich continued. “And it’s basically a lynch mob.”

“Unfortunately, the attorney general of the United States has joined that lynch mob and is totally misusing the FBI,” he added. “And I think, when you have a Republican Congress, this is all going to come crashing down, and the wolves are going to find out that they’re now sheep. And they’re the ones who are, in fact, going to, I think, face a real risk of jail for the kind of laws they are breaking.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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CBS Host Stunned NOT ONE Participant in Face the Nation’s Focus Group Believes America is in a Better Place After One Year of Joe Biden (VIDEO)

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After Joe Biden’s first year in office, NOT ONE participant in Face the Nation’s focus group believes America is in a better place.

CBS host Margaret Brennan was stunned when the entire panel of six participants, including Biden voters, said America is on the wrong path.

“During the course of the pandemic, “Face the Nation” has been listening to Americans, through Zoom, to get their thoughts on COVID, the economy and how the government is handling it all. On Friday, we checked back in with six of them,” host Margaret Brennan said.

“Who feels like we are in a better place now than we were a year ago?” Brennan asked the panel of six participants.

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Every participant said no.

Margaret Brennan was stunned: “No one believes we are in a better spot?”

“I just don’t understand. I thought this is going to be a president for the people of the people,” said Beth, an Independent voter.

Even the Biden voters on the panel blasted Joe Biden.

VIDEO:

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