Section 400.179, Florida Statutes 2004
400.179 Sale or transfer of ownership of a nursing facility; liability for Medicaid underpayments and overpayments.--
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to protect the rights of nursing home residents and the security of public funds when a nursing facility is sold or the ownership is transferred.
(2) Whenever a nursing facility is sold or the ownership is transferred, including leasing, the transferee shall make application to the agency for a new license at least 90 days prior to the date of transfer of ownership.
(3) The transferor shall notify the agency in writing at least 90 days prior to the date of transfer of ownership. The transferor shall be responsible and liable for the lawful operation of the nursing facility and the welfare of the residents domiciled in the facility until the date the transferee is licensed by the agency. The transferor shall be liable for any and all penalties imposed against the facility for violations occurring prior to the date of transfer of ownership.
(4) The transferor shall, prior to transfer of ownership, repay or make arrangements to repay to the agency or the Department of Children and Family Services any amounts owed to the agency or the department. Should the transferor fail to repay or make arrangements to repay the amounts owed to the agency or the department prior to the transfer of ownership, the issuance of a license to the transferee shall be delayed until repayment or until arrangements for repayment are made.
(5) Because any transfer of a nursing facility may expose the fact that Medicaid may have underpaid or overpaid the transferor, and because in most instances, any such underpayment or overpayment can only be determined following a formal field audit, the liabilities for any such underpayments or overpayments shall be as follows:
(a) The Medicaid program shall be liable to the transferor for any underpayments owed during the transferor's period of operation of the facility.
(b) Without regard to whether the transferor had leased or owned the nursing facility, the transferor shall remain liable to the Medicaid program for all Medicaid overpayments received during the transferor's period of operation of the facility, regardless of when determined.
(c) Where the facility transfer takes any form of a sale of assets, in addition to the transferor's continuing liability for any such overpayments, if the transferor fails to meet these obligations, the transferee shall be liable for all liabilities that can be readily identifiable 90 days in advance of the transfer. Such liability shall continue in succession until the debt is ultimately paid or otherwise resolved. It shall be the burden of the transferee to determine the amount of all such readily identifiable overpayments from the Agency for Health Care Administration, and the agency shall cooperate in every way with the identification of such amounts. Readily identifiable overpayments shall include overpayments that will result from, but not be limited to:
1. Medicaid rate changes or adjustments;
2. Any depreciation recapture;
3. Any recapture of fair rental value system indexing; or
4. Audits completed by the agency.
The transferor shall remain liable for any such Medicaid overpayments that were not readily identifiable 90 days in advance of the nursing facility transfer.
(d) Where the transfer involves a facility that has been leased by the transferor:
1. The transferee shall, as a condition to being issued a license by the agency, acquire, maintain, and provide proof to the agency of a bond with a term of 30 months, renewable annually, in an amount not less than the total of 3 months Medicaid payments to the facility computed on the basis of the preceding 12-month average Medicaid payments to the facility.
2. A leasehold licensee may meet the requirements of subparagraph 1. by payment of a nonrefundable fee, paid at initial licensure, paid at the time of any subsequent change of ownership, and paid at the time of any subsequent annual license renewal, in the amount of 2 percent of the total of 3 months' Medicaid payments to the facility computed on the basis of the preceding 12-month average Medicaid payments to the facility. If a preceding 12-month average is not available, projected Medicaid payments may be used. The fee shall be deposited into the Health Care Trust Fund and shall be accounted for separately as a Medicaid nursing home overpayment account. These fees shall be used at the sole discretion of the agency to repay nursing home Medicaid overpayments. Payment of this fee shall not release the licensee from any liability for any Medicaid overpayments, nor shall payment bar the agency from seeking to recoup overpayments from the licensee and any other liable party. As a condition of exercising this lease bond alternative, licensees paying this fee must maintain an existing lease bond through the end of the 30-month term period of that bond. The agency is herein granted specific authority to promulgate all rules pertaining to the administration and management of this account, including withdrawals from the account, subject to federal review and approval. This provision shall take effect upon becoming law and shall apply to any leasehold license application.
a. The financial viability of the Medicaid nursing home overpayment account shall be determined by the agency through annual review of the account balance and the amount of total outstanding, unpaid Medicaid overpayments owing from leasehold licensees to the agency as determined by final agency audits.
b. The agency, in consultation with the Florida Health Care Association and the Florida Association of Homes for the Aging, shall study and make recommendations on the minimum amount to be held in reserve to protect against Medicaid overpayments to leasehold licensees and on the issue of successor liability for Medicaid overpayments upon sale or transfer of ownership of a nursing facility. The agency shall submit the findings and recommendations of the study to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 1, 2003.
3. The leasehold licensee may meet the bond requirement through other arrangements acceptable to the agency. The agency is herein granted specific authority to promulgate rules pertaining to lease bond arrangements.
4. All existing nursing facility licensees, operating the facility as a leasehold, shall acquire, maintain, and provide proof to the agency of the 30-month bond required in subparagraph 1., above, on and after July 1, 1993, for each license renewal.
5. It shall be the responsibility of all nursing facility operators, operating the facility as a leasehold, to renew the 30-month bond and to provide proof of such renewal to the agency annually at the time of application for license renewal.
6. Any failure of the nursing facility operator to acquire, maintain, renew annually, or provide proof to the agency shall be grounds for the agency to deny, cancel, revoke, or suspend the facility license to operate such facility and to take any further action, including, but not limited to, enjoining the facility, asserting a moratorium, or applying for a receiver, deemed necessary to ensure compliance with this section and to safeguard and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the facility's residents. A lease agreement required as a condition of bond financing or refinancing under s. 154.213 by a health facilities authority or required under s. 159.30 by a county or municipality is not a leasehold for purposes of this paragraph and is not subject to the bond requirement of this paragraph.
History.--ss. 12, 18, ch. 80-186; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 24, 79, 83, ch. 83-181; s. 51, ch. 83-218; s. 30, ch. 93-177; ss. 23, 49, ch. 93-217; s. 119, ch. 99-8; s. 15, ch. 2001-377; s. 28, ch. 2002-223; s. 10, ch. 2002-400; s. 1, ch. 2003-405.