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Congress voices concerns about nursing homes in Florida

There often comes a time in a person's life when it becomes difficult to handle his or her own affairs. Medication regimens, reduced mobility and smaller social networks can all contribute to the decision to live in a nursing home or other facility with assisted living.

It often falls to residents themselves, as well as their family and friends, to be vigilant about the quality of living and care in nursing homes. Clinical and support staffs in assisted-living facilities are dedicated to proper attention for their patients, but some facilities fall behind. Shortcomings can have dangerous consequences.

An incident last year that claimed 14 lives in a Florida nursing home touched off a wave of renewed concern in Tallahassee and beyond. The governor recently signed a bill that made it illegal for nursing homes and related facilities to have too few safeguards on environmental controls.

Concern has also been voiced in Washington, D.C., where four members of the U.S. Congress are searching for answers about enforcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS). This agency is responsible for overseeing and partially funding assisted living for seniors nationwide.

Initial reports "raise serious questions about the degree to which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is fulfilling its responsibility" to nursing home residents' safety, according to the chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Nursing home residents and their families may also report lapses in responsibility, as well as pursue legal action to stop abuse or recompense the victims of abuse. An attorney may help abused or neglected residents of nursing homes hold organizations to account in civil court.

Source: McKnight's Long-Term Care News, "Members of Congress ratchet up pressure on nursing homes," James M. Berklan, April 03, 2018

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