Florida lawmakers are currently proposing one of the toughest laws in the nation against assisted living facilities.
Specifically targeting abusive care, lawmakers are demanding for homes to be shut down when residents die from poor care. This is one of the biggest changes in Florida law since the creation of assisted living facilities, according to the Tampa Bay Tribune.
Two Senate committees unveiled the dual bills in January after months of reports by the Miami Herald that showed facility residents were living in dangerous conditions. This comprehensive legislation is aimed at improving oversight, including mandatory penalties in fatal neglect cases and creation of a public rating system for homes.
Among the proposals, the state would:
- Revoke the license of any ALF where a resident dies from abuse or neglect.
- Impose the maximum fines on ALFs caught abusing or neglecting residents to death, without resorting to making settlements.
- Increase the qualifications for ALF administrators, from a high school diploma to a college degree with coursework in health fields or two years of experience caring for residents.
- Impose criminal penalties for caregivers and administrators who falsify medical and other ALF records.
- Allow family members of residents to install cameras in rooms to help detect abuse.
- Allow residents to appeal a home's decision to force them out, giving residents the chance to remain at the home until a hearing is held.
The bills also strip away some power from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), which has been criticized for failing to take appropriate action at disciplining troublesome facilities.
If the bills pass, AHCA agents will be required to increase inspections to homes with a history of violations that threaten the safety of residents. Additionally, AHCA professionals must visit homes catering to the mentally ill four times a year to ensure residents are properly treated.
The bills are supported by some of Florida's most powerful senators but are also expected to draw opposition from industry leaders and some House members.
For more information on legal matters concerning assisted living facilities, please call our office at (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 to speak to an attorney. For more information visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.