FHCA Announces 2024 Executive Nurse Leadership Academy Participants

The Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) has revealed participants for its 2024 Executive Nurse Leadership Academy, showcasing a group of nursing professionals poised for leadership roles in long-term care. The FHCA is committed to enhancing the quality of care in Florida's long-term care centers.

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FHCA Announces 2024 Executive Nurse Leadership Academy Participants
4 Min Read October 27th, 2023

The Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) has revealed the participants of the 2024 Executive Nurse Leadership Academy, a program uniquely tailored for emerging nursing leaders in the field of long-term care. The curriculum spans three days of intensive training, supplemented by a series of educational webinars and programs, targeting Directors of Nursing (DON), Assistant Directors of Nursing (ADON), and other clinical leaders from long-term care centers across Florida.

Long-term care is a major factor in Florida's economy and the quality of life of Florida residents as it is a popular retirement destination with a large and growing older adult population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida has the fourth-oldest population in the country, with a median age of 42.8 years. In 2021, an estimated 5.2 million people aged 65 and over lived in Florida, which accounted for 20.8% of the state's population.

The aging of Florida's population has led to an increasing demand for long-term care services in people's homes and in long-term care facilities statewide.

The 2024 Executive Nurse Leadership Academy includes the following professionals: 

  • Amy Santapau, Regional MDS at Bedrock Care
  • Anita Bryant, DON at Balanced Healthcare, St. Petersburg
  • Betty Barron, DON at Aston Health, Lutz
  • Carol Rodriguez, ADON at Manatee Springs Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Bradenton
  • Christal Verduzco, DON at Aston Health, Deland
  • Christian Cooper, DON at Avante Group, Inc., Orlando
  • Christie Witty, Regional Nurse Consultant at Lilac Health Group, Maitland
  • Dawn Moran, DON at Life Care Center of Sarasota, Sarasota
  • Donna Gunther, RN, RAC-CT, MDS Manager at Brooks Rehabilitation University Crossing, Jacksonville
  • Enrique Cateriano, DON at Riviera Health Resort, Coral Gables
  • Erin Heathcote, DON at Gandy Post Acute and Rehabilitation Center, Tampa
  • Irma Garduno, DON at Vivo Healthcare of Wauchula, Wauchula
  • Jacqueline Forshee, Regional Nurse Consultant at Aston Health Consulting Services, Tampa
  • Jessica Burnett, DON at Orange Park Rehabilitation and Nursing, Orange Park
  • Kelly Ratanasurakan, Vice President of Clinical Services at Aston Health, Tampa
  • Kristi Beasley, DON at Isles of Boynton Beach Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Boynton Beach
  • Lynn Anderson, Director of Risk Management at RB Health Partners, Inc., Crystal Beach
  • Lysha Tramel, ADON at Ayers Health and Rehabilitation Center, Trenton
  • Maria Carmona, Unit Manager at Winter Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation 
  • Marrissa Antoszyk, Regional Director of Clinical Operations at AbleHearts Consulting Services, LLC, Tampa
  • Mary Bottcher, Vice President of Risk and Regulatory at Aston Health, Tampa
  • Michele Mazzo, DON at Life Care Center of Punta Gorda, Punta Gorda
  • Mildred Smith, DON at Vivo Healthcare of Sebring, Sebring
  • Nichole Tipton, ADON at River Valey Rehabilitation Center, Blountstown 
  • Sarah Smith, RN Unit Manager at Riverwood Health and Rehabilitation Center, Starke
  • Sierra Swords, DON at Middleburg Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Middleburg
  • Stephanie Harris-Thomas, RN QA Risk Manager at Ybor City Center for Rehabilitation and Healing, Tampa
  • Viola Otero, RN, DON at Winter Haven Post Acute, Winter Haven
  • Waylene Close, Director of Clinical Services at Palm Garden of Ocala, Ocala

Quality Care is the Goal

Emmett Reed, CEO of FHCA, congratulated the 2024 class, saying these dedicated and compassionate nursing professionals are vital to the excellence of Florida's long-term care facilities.

We are committed to providing the essential tools and resources they need to further their careers and continue to deliver outstanding care and support to our state's elderly population.

The Executive Nurse Leadership Academy is a FHCA initiative aimed at bolstering the skills and knowledge of registered nurse executives. The program commences with a three-day event at the FHCA Training and Education Center in Tallahassee, gathering DONs, ADONs, supervisory nurses on track to become DONs or ADONs, and RNs in senior leadership roles.

The Florida Health Care Association represents over 600 long-term care centers and serves over 80% of Florida's nursing centers. It is the state's leading advocacy organization for long-term care providers and the elderly individuals they serve.

LTC Costs Increasing in Florida

While long-term care expenses in Florida are experiencing a significant increase, the costs remain relatively moderate compared to other states. 

These costs vary within the state:

As many retirees move to Florida when they retire and have not planned for long-term care, many families are forced to pay out-of-pocket. Many of these people exhaust their savings and end up qualifying for Medicaid. Medicaid will only pay for long-term care once someone has little income and assets.

According to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), the following is the breakdown of how long-term care costs are paid for in Florida for 2022:

  • Private pay: 55%
  • Medicaid: 25%
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: 20%
  • Medicare: <1%

Medicare covers a very small portion of long-term care costs as it only pays for up to 100 days of skilled care services. LTC Insurance is usually comprehensive and will pay for all types of levels of long-term care including care in the care recipient’s home.

It is important to note that these percentages are based on the overall long-term care costs in Florida. The percentage of costs paid by each funding source may vary depending on the type of care received and the individual's needs.

For example, Medicaid is more likely to pay for long-term care in a nursing home, while private pay is more likely to pay for long-term care in an assisted living facility. Additionally, individuals with Long-Term Care Insurance are more likely to have their costs covered in a variety of long-term care settings, and most care starts in an individual's home.

The majority of individuals obtain Long-Term Care Insurance between the ages of 45 and 65, benefiting from lower premiums and generally better health. Since LTC Insurance requires medical underwriting, the likelihood of qualifying for coverage decreases with age. However, once a policy is issued, it is guaranteed renewable, ensuring that changes in health status will not affect the coverage.

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About the Author

Linda Kople is a freelance writer with a personal family history in long-term care. She specializes in aging-related topics such as caregiving, health, and retirement planning. Her experiences and interests drive her to explore and write about the various aspects of aging and health issues.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

Long-Term Care Insurance is designed to cover expenses related to long-term care services for you. These services, which include home health care, adult day care, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, are typically not covered by standard health insurance or Medicare. It's important to understand that Medicaid will only cover long-term care services if you have very limited income and assets. This makes LTC Insurance a crucial component of your retirement planning.

The main advantage of Long-Term Care Insurance for you is protection against the rising costs of long-term care services. Without it, you could deplete your retirement savings or other assets to pay for your care. By securing Long-Term Care Insurance, you fortify your financial defenses against unforeseen health challenges.

Moreover, Long-Term Care Insurance offers more than just financial protection. It helps reduce the potential stress and responsibility that would otherwise fall on your family. Watching you struggle with health issues, like a stroke, can be emotionally draining for them. Add to that the duty of caregiving or managing care, and the weight can become overwhelming.

Having LTC Insurance ensures professional care services are covered, lightening the load on your family. This means they can focus more on offering emotional support rather than handling caregiving responsibilities themselves. 

It's wise to consider getting coverage in your 40s or 50s, but if you have good health, you can find affordable options in your 60s and beyond. An LTC specialist can assist you in finding the right coverage.

Seek Expert Guidance When Purchasing LTC Insurance

Engage an independent Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who works with leading insurance providers to find a policy tailored to your age, health, and family history, ensuring cost-effective coverage.

Keep in mind that premiums and underwriting criteria can differ significantly between companies. Consulting with an LTC Insurance expert simplifies the selection process for both you and your spouse, helping you make an informed decision.

The specialist will provide accurate quotes from all the top companies and their professional recommendations. 

Find Quality Care - You Can Have Choice

Whether for your aging parents or yourself in the years ahead, access to your choice of quality care is essential to a better quality of life.

LTC NEWS can help you and your family in many ways. The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory is an excellent resource where you can find the most comprehensive directory of all types of long-term care services no matter where your loved one lives - Long-Term Care Services Directory | Find Care Near You.


Care Directory

Comprehensive caregiving & care facility listings in your area

Having a Long-Term Care Insurance policy for your loved one can significantly expand their options for quality care. Most home health agencies and long-term care facilities will inquire about LTC insurance coverage during their initial assessment.

It's crucial to promptly utilize the benefits of your loved one's LTC policy rather than reserving them for future use. Leveraging these benefits immediately can enhance the quality of life and access to quality care services.

LTC NEWS has combined efforts with Amada Senior Care, a leading in-home health care agency with locations throughout the country, to help you process a claim from any LTC Insurance policy.

There is no cost or obligation for this service - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim. If they don't have an LTC policy, Amada can still help develop a plan of care and provide you with many affordable in-home care options. Learn more now - Find Quality In-Home Care.

These four LTC NEWS guides will assist you in trying to find appropriate long-term health care services for a loved one:

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In summary, sponsored content on LTC NEWS is a powerful marketing tool that can help you boost website traffic, SEO, brand recognition, and audience engagement. Traditional advertising is also available to keep you in front of potential customers. 

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If your group, organization, business, or political committee has news to share, we encourage you to submit a press release to us.

You can submit your press release - newsroom@ltcnews.com 

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