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Florida may reduce state oversight for nursing homes

A series of bills moving through Florida’s State Legislature may mean cutbacks in the oversight of nursing home facilities, including those with worst violations. The Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA) is responsible for increasing oversight inspections of facilities that it cites with “Class 1” violations, the lowest rating provided for facilities that have the most serious offenses.

How these bills can affect nursing home residents

Currently, such nursing home violations are supposed to induce inspections every six months over two years. According to the Naples Daily News, this proposed legislation could cut those inspections for dangerous nursing homes, putting patients at higher risk. Here’s how these bills could change the ACHA’s oversight of nursing homes in Florida:

  • The ACHA would only require a single inspection (rather than recurring inspections) for nursing homes cited for a ‘Class 1’ violation or many ‘Class 2’ violations.
  • The ACHA’s inspection fines could have a 50% reduction, which means lower penalties for nursing homes in violation of state laws.
  • Low-risk nursing homes could be exempt from inspections (or have delayed inspections) so that inspectors can see to higher risk facilities.

Arguments for the bills’ utility

Proponents of these bills cite the need for ACHA to have better flexibility when it comes to distributing staff across the many types of facilities it’s tasked with overseeing. These potential improvements could come in the form of better allocation of resources for an agency that is already stretched thin. Since these mandates would affect every nursing home in Florida, the implications could become especially dire. 

Protecting the elderly

You want to ensure that your loved one is receiving the care they need and deserve. If you suspect your relative’s nursing home of neglect or abuse, contact an attorney who specializes in elder law right away.

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