New Florida Bill To Affect Nursing Homes, Patients
Florida residents must often make the difficult decision to put their loved ones in nursing homes to ensure they receive the best care possible. It can be frustrating to find the right nursing home, though, since many have committed serious violations, such as neglect and abuse.
It may seem as though some facilities have lax standards. Unfortunately, a bill is in the works in Florida that could loosen the standards even more.
Senate Bill 804 would make it so nursing homes that fail to meet state-mandated staffing requirements could still admit new residents. The current law prohibits these facilities from doing so. The bill would also implement mandatory staffing minimums and outline the types of employees that can be counted in these minimums.
Those who support the bill claim that it is desperately needed to deal with the staffing shortage at nursing homes, which continues to grow. But is it the answer? Opponents of the bill have concerns that if the bill is passed, it will cause nursing homes to lower the standard of care and keep staffing levels the same. Staffing levels have been negatively impacted by COVID.
The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ben Albritton, filed the measure on behalf of the Florida Health Care Association, which represents close to 600 assisted living facilities in the state. Albritton claims that the bill’s language is a step toward easing the staffing shortages that the long-term care industry has faced in the past few years. From the beginning, Albritton’s office was coordinating the bill’s language with Toby Philpot, who serves as the chief lobbyist for the Florida Health Care Association.
The bill was filed at the end of October 2021. A similar measure, House Bill 1239, has also been filed in the House. However, neither bill has gotten a hearing in the House or Senate.
While the bill has a lot of support from health care associations, there are concerns about whether or not this is the best approach. Florida has been considered a leader on minimum staff standards for the past 20 years. In 2001, Florida passed a law that increased nursing home regulations in nursing homes, such as the amount of time qualified staff must spend caring for patients. For example, nursing assistants are required to provide 2½ hours of direct care to each resident of a nursing home on a daily basis.
However, nursing home industry leaders claim that patient needs have changed in the last two decades. Flexibility with staffing is needed to account for these changes.
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Nursing homes must take care of patients and provide them with an acceptable standard of care. Trying to pass bills that allow them to do the bare minimum is not fair to patients and their families.
Florida has high standards for nursing home care, but nursing home abuse and neglect is still a serious issue in the state. Seek legal help from a Tampa nursing home abuse attorney from Moore Law. To schedule a free consultation with our office, fill out the online form or call 813-510-5400.