(1) To protect the health and welfare of persons receiving care in nursing facilities, it is the intent of the Legislature to develop a regulatory framework that promotes the stability of the industry and facilitates the physical, social, and emotional well-being of nursing facility residents.
(2) The Legislature intends to develop an award and recognition program for nursing facilities that demonstrate excellence in long-term care over a sustained period. This program shall be known as the Gold Seal Program.
(3)(a) The Gold Seal Program shall be developed and implemented by the Governor’s Panel on Excellence in Long-Term Care which shall operate under the authority of the Executive Office of the Governor. The panel shall be composed of three persons appointed by the Governor, to include a consumer advocate for senior citizens and two persons with expertise in the fields of quality management, service delivery excellence, or public sector accountability; three persons appointed by the Secretary of Elderly Affairs, to include an active member of a nursing facility family and resident care council and a member of the University Consortium on Aging; the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman; one person appointed by the Florida Life Care Residents Association; one person appointed by the State Surgeon General; two persons appointed by the Secretary of Health Care Administration; one person appointed by the Florida Association of Homes for the Aging; and one person appointed by the Florida Health Care Association. Vacancies on the panel shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.
(b) Members of the Governor’s Panel on Excellence in Long-Term Care shall be prohibited from having any ownership interest in a nursing facility. Any member of the panel who is employed by a nursing facility in any capacity shall be prohibited from participating in reviewing or voting on recommendations involving the facility by which the member is employed or any facility under common ownership with that facility.
(c) Recommendations to the panel for designation of a nursing facility as a Gold Seal facility may be received by the panel after January 1, 2000. The activities of the panel shall be supported by staff of the Department of Elderly Affairs and the Agency for Health Care Administration.
(4) The panel shall consider the quality of care provided to residents when evaluating a facility for the Gold Seal Program. The panel shall determine the procedure or procedures for measuring the quality of care.
(5) Facilities must meet the following additional criteria for recognition as a Gold Seal Program facility:
(a) Had no class I or class II deficiencies within the 30 months preceding application for the program.
(b) Evidence financial soundness and stability according to standards adopted by the agency in administrative rule. Such standards must include, but not be limited to, criteria for the use of financial statements that are prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and that are reviewed or audited by certified public accountants. A nursing home that is part of the same corporate entity as a continuing care facility licensed under chapter 651 which meets the minimum liquid reserve requirements specified in s. 651.035 and is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization under s. 651.028 and rules of the Office of Insurance Regulation satisfies this requirement as long as the accreditation is not provisional. Facilities operated by a federal or state agency are deemed to be financially stable for purposes of applying for the Gold Seal.
(c) Participate in a consumer satisfaction process, and demonstrate that information is elicited from residents, family members, and guardians about satisfaction with the nursing facility, its environment, the services and care provided, the staff’s skills and interactions with residents, attention to residents’ needs, and the facility’s efforts to act on information gathered from the consumer satisfaction measures.
(d) Evidence the involvement of families and members of the community in the facility on a regular basis.
(e) Have a stable workforce, as described in s. 400.141, as evidenced by a relatively low rate of turnover among certified nursing assistants and licensed nurses within the 30 months preceding application for the Gold Seal Program, and demonstrate a continuing effort to maintain a stable workforce and to reduce turnover of licensed nurses and certified nursing assistants.
(f) Evidence an outstanding record regarding the number and types of substantiated complaints reported to the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council within the 30 months preceding application for the program.
(g) Provide targeted inservice training provided to meet training needs identified by internal or external quality assurance efforts.
A facility assigned a conditional licensure status may not qualify for consideration for the Gold Seal Program until after it has operated for 30 months with no class I or class II deficiencies and has completed a regularly scheduled relicensure survey.
(6) The agency, nursing facility industry organizations, consumers, State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council, and members of the community may recommend to the Governor facilities that meet the established criteria for consideration for and award of the Gold Seal. The panel shall review nominees and make a recommendation to the Governor for final approval and award. The decision of the Governor is final and is not subject to appeal.
(7) A facility must be licensed and operating for 30 months before it is eligible to apply for the Gold Seal Program. The agency shall establish by rule the frequency of review for designation as a Gold Seal Program facility and under what circumstances a facility may be denied the privilege of using this designation. The designation of a facility as a Gold Seal Program facility is not transferable to another license, except when an existing facility is being relicensed in the name of an entity related to the current licenseholder by common ownership or control, and there will be no change in the management, operation, or programs at the facility as a result of the relicensure.
(8)(a) Facilities awarded the Gold Seal may use the designation in their advertising and marketing.
(b) Upon approval by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the agency shall adopt a revised schedule of survey and relicensure visits for Gold Seal Program facilities. Gold Seal Program facilities may be surveyed for certification and relicensure every 2 years, so long as they maintain the standards associated with retaining the Gold Seal.
(9) The agency may adopt rules as necessary to administer this section.