Congressmen Want to Change Nursing Home Staffing Rules in Florida

Senators try to change nursing home staffing rules in Florida. CNA language removed.

The attorneys at Senior Justice Law Firm are focused on pursuing justice for seniors in the state of Florida.  As part of our advocacy for injured residents, we stay up to date with potential changes to Florida law on nursing home governance. 

What are the Florida current nursing home staffing rules?

Florida has specific nursing home staffing rules, as written in  Section 400.23(3)(a)(1) of the Florida Statutes.

The staffing ratios are set for three types of caregivers: Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs).  Together, LPNs and RNs are considered “licensed nursing staffing”.

a. A minimum weekly average of certified nursing assistant and licensed nursing staffing combined of 3.6 hours of direct care per resident per day. As used in this sub-subparagraph, a week is defined as Sunday through Saturday.

b. A minimum certified nursing assistant staffing of 2.5 hours of direct care per resident per day. A facility may not staff below one certified nursing assistant per 20 residents.
c. A minimum licensed nursing staffing of 1.0 hour of direct care per resident per day. A facility may not staff below one licensed nurse per 40 residents.”
For more information on the current staffing rules, click here.

What are the proposed changes to the Florida nursing home staffing rules?

Potential nursing home staffing rules can lead to higher resident injuries.

Republican Representatives have proposed specific changes to the language of Section 400.141. The key difference is changing “certified nursing assistant” care hours to “direct care staff” hours.

“direct care staff” includes individuals who, through interpersonal contact with residents or resident care management, provide care and services to allow residents to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being. Direct care staff does not include individuals whose primary duty is maintaining the physical environment of the nursing home facility, and excludes any staff time spent performing nursing administration, staff development, staff coordination, and the administrative portion of the minimum data set and care plan coordinators.”

The bill also removes the requirement of 2.5 hours of direct care per resident by certified nursing assistants, and removes the requirement of 3.6 hours of direct patient care to be replaced by hours required by “direct care staff”.  The changes were pursued by the Florida Health Care Association, a group that campaigns on behalf of the state’s largest for-profit nursing homes.

Why is nursing home staffing important?

According to Jack McRay from the AARP “CNA’s are the absolute core of nursing home care”. Appropriate nursing home staffing is the magic bullet to provide better care for residents.  Essential medical tasks such as repositioning a patient to avert bedsores can be overlooked when workers are overburdened, sometimes leading to avoidable hospitalizations. Inadequate staffing does not just lead to bedsores, but also preventable falls, fractures and even wrongful death.

Many nursing homes choose to staff to the bare minimum to increase profits.  By lowering mandatory state minimums, these Congressmen are risking the lives of Florida elders in order to increase profits for their preferred lobbyists.

If you believe your loved one was injured due to understaffing, do not hesitate to call.
Our experienced nursing home attorneys are available to discuss your potential case.
Call today. 561-717-0817.

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