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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Florida Health Care Leaders Reflect on Governor Ron DeSantis' Emergency Order to Protect Residents in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities and Other Long-Term Care Facilities

March 12, 2020


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Joint Information Center on COVID-19 for the State of Florida
(850) 815-4940,

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Florida’s health care leaders reflected on Governor Ron DeSantis’ thoughtful actions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep Florida’s most vulnerable citizens safe from this disease. 

Here is what they are saying:

Leading Age President/CEO Steve Bahmer said, “Governor DeSantis is a leader, and he’s showing exactly what a leader does by taking proactive measures now to protect Florida’s seniors. LeadingAge Florida will continue to stand by to support in anyway we can as Florida responds to COVID-19.”

Florida Disabilities Council Executive Director Valerie Breen said, “We know that people with underlying medical conditions are most at risk of developing severe symptoms due to COVID-19, and today, Governor DeSantis showed that he is prioritizing and protecting our disabled population. On behalf of our entire disabled community in Florida – thank you, Governor.”

Florida Association of Community Health CentersPresident and CEO Andrew Behrman said, “Governor DeSantis, Director Moskowitz, Secretary Mayhew and Dr. Rivkees have been in lock step up with us to keep COVID-19 out of Florida’s Community Health Centers. I have to add that there are thousands of dedicated nurses, doctors and caretakers across the state who work every day to keep people safe, and today, Governor DeSantis also stepped up for them.”

Florida Senior Living AssociationPresident and CEO Gail Matillo said, “Once again, Governor DeSantis understands the importance of ensuring our seniors are valued and protected. We appreciate his swift action, as well as the Division of Emergency Management, the Agency for Healthcare Administration and the Florida Department of Health in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep Florida’s seniors safe and protected.”

Florida Assisted Living Association CEO Veronica Catoe said, “The Florida Assisted Living Association appreciates the swift action taken by Governor DeSantis, Director Moskowitz and Secretary Mayhew to protect Florida’s senior citizens against the spread of COVID-19. We want our older Floridians to feel protected in their homes and the Governor’s actions will provide a sense of security during this time of uncertainty.”

Florida Health Care Association Executive Director Emmett Reed said, “We thank Governor Ron DeSantis, AHCA Secretary Mayhew and Florida’s Division of Emergency Management Director Moskowitz for their support in communicating how critical it is to prevent COVID-19 from entering long term care centers. Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) is encouraging nursing centers to implement the guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to implement stricter policies to limit visitation as much as possible, as well as increasing the screening process for staff, vendors, and visitors. Because of the particular vulnerability of residents, it is essential that anyone who potentially carries the virus does not enter any of our facilities, and we are asking that individuals restrict visitation unless absolutely necessary to help keep our residents and caregivers safe and healthy.”


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