Nursing Home Resident Bill of Rights Scrapped

Mandatory Nursing Home Insurance Coverage Bill Withdrawn

Proposal 88, a proposed revision to Florida’s constitution, would guarantee basic human rights to nursing home residents. Unfortunately, the Constitutional Revision Committee withdrew this Bill of Rights from consideration, despite widespread support for the new legislation.

Proposal 88 Would Have Protected Nursing Home Residents

Florida has little government or agency punitive action when nursing homes behave badly. Outside of minimal fines, the industry largely gets away with negligently injuring and killing their residents. With no administrative recourse, families often seek justice through a civil damages lawsuit. When families demand accountability in a Florida nursing home negligence lawsuit, they are shocked to find out that the facility has little to no insurance coverage.

The ability of facilities to evade responsibility for their wrongdoing is infuriating.

Proposal 88 guaranteed that residents be treated “courteously, fairly and with dignity.” If a nursing home or assisted living facility negligently harmed a resident, they would have to have adequate insurance to compensate the victim and their family.

Makes sense, right?

So Who Opposed This Basic Human Rights Bill?

The long term care industry lobbied hard against the proposed change. Throwing thousands of dollars at our lawmakers in Tallahassee served its intended effect. Florida Constitution Revision Commission member Brecht Heuchan on Tuesday announced the proposal was withdrawn from consideration, without any significant explanation.

Though his remarks were relatively brief, Heuchan fought rising emotion in his voice, noting that it was painful for him to concede that the proposal wouldn’t pass. The proposal faced opposition from the nursing-home industry. — Orlando Sentinel

The common sense proposal was ultimately killed by special interest groups, like the Florida Health Care Association and Leading Age Florida.

What Avenues of Justice are Still Available to Victims of Elder Abuse?

Nursing home and assisted living negligence should be reported immediately. Try to get state agencies, like AHCA, involved before the victim passes away.

If the state agencies fail you in their investigation, you can seek redress against the at-fault facility with a civil trial lawyer. However, we as attorneys are bound by Florida’s unfair nursing home negligence laws. This make achieving justice for our clients in this sub-specialty increasingly difficult.

In a state which is widely regarded as being ‘senior friendly,’ our legislature should recognize that our most vulnerable seniors deserve protection.

 

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