Thursday, November 29, 2012

Disgusting Excuse For Reform of Assisted Living Facilities

Gov. Rick Scott formed the Florida Assisted Living Workgroup after cases of violations in poor assisted ling facilities. The Florida Assisted Living Workgroup have released their recommendations.

Among the other recommendations: Create a professional board that would have oversight of facility administrators and seek legislation to address “tort reform” —generally placing limits on liability lawsuits —against facilities. The workgroup also issued recommendations last year, but the House and Senate did not reach agreement on a bill to increase oversight.

How is tort reform suppose to keep disabled people living in assisted living facilities from getting physically or sexually abused? Tort reform does protect assisted living facilities from massive lawsuits or state fines. Tort reform is about protecting an industry that donates to political campaigns.

If you want to find out what assisted living facilities are violating state law you are going to have a problem. The Workgroup recommends shielding facilities from the prying eyes of citizens wanting to know about complaints. From the Workgroup report.

Enable a public record exemption for AHCA complaints. Complaints filed with AHCA are currently not protected from disclosure. Consider adding confidentiality to AHCA complaints equivalent to that of the Ombudsman.

A big reason the Workgroup was started was because former State Sen. Ronda Storms was outraged about Miami Herald articles on patients in assisted living facilities experiencing abuse and living in poor conditions. Storms is a pro-business conservative. However, she did not advocate for deregulating assisted living facilities.

Said Storms, “I’m a person that believes where we can deregulate we should deregulate, but not when it comes to human safety, to health and welfare of vulnerable populations. I think that if we’re talking about regulating grass cutters, that rises to a different level than regulating child welfare, elder services. There has to be some common sense here. We’re not just talking dogma, right?”

Instead of Storms' common sense approach. The Workgroup is looking for ways to give state money to assisted living facilities and ways to avoid imposing fines. From the Workgroup report.

3. Maintain current law that fines will only be imposed for low-level citations if uncorrected, to focus penalties on poor performers without adverse impact on competent providers.

4. Work with long-term managed care plans, once selected by AHCA, to promote the number and use of ALF beds through reimbursement and other incentives, so that the plans increasingly serve as appropriate diversions to nursing home care as well as serving those on waiting lists for nursing home care.

This is disgusting.

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