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Florida nursing homes face few penalties despite patient deaths

When you entrust a Florida nursing home with caring for your elderly loved one, you likely do so with the belief that the staff members there will treat and care for your loved one in the same manner you would. Regrettably, however, this is not the case at many such residences across Florida. Often, it is the residents of these facilities, as well as their family members, who suffer the most.

Per the Naples News, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration is the agency tasked with investigating claims of elder neglect, elder abuse and patient deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state. While the primary goal of the administration is to ensure the safety of Florida’s elders living in residential facilities, it rarely issues fines or sanctions against companies that compromise resident safety.

An industry with little accountability

In addition to failing to issue fines against companies following allegations of abuse or neglect, the AHCA also faces scrutiny because little, if any, evidence exists to prove the administration properly investigated allegations of abuse, neglect or mistreatment. This held true even when patient deaths soon followed the allegations.

In fact, in about two-thirds of reported instances of nursing home patient deaths, no evidence exists at all to show the AHCA properly investigated matters. Furthermore, even when Florida did attest the actions of a staff member at a particular nursing home caused a patient’s death, the AHCA issued no fines or penalties against the nursing homes where the deaths occurred in three-quarters of all cases.

Safety advocates argue that, in many cases, the AHCA “turns a blind eye” when confronted with issues affecting the state’s many nursing homes. The AHCA has also been the subject of numerous other allegations, including claims it allows the state’s worst-performing facilities to remain open despite failing to issue sanctions against them.

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