Since March of 2020, Florida nursing homes have seen over 10,000 deaths of patients in long-term care facilities. Over the last year, state regulators have filed 10 emergency orders against LTCFs to either revoke some institutions’ licenses or halt admissions. These emergency orders came as a direct result of NTCFs not following Florida’s state guidelines.
As LTCFs restricted visiting privileges in response to a growing number of lawsuits, many elderly patients are suffering symptoms of depression from isolation from their family members. As state officials struggle to find a safe solution, new proposals are arising that would remove some liability from LTCFs to encourage open visiting hours once again.
Visitation restrictions continue due to fear of lawsuits
According to News4Jax.com, Florida’s governor is softening his stance regarding liability for LTCFs in some cases. While the governor agrees that liability protections may help LTCFs from over-restricting their patients, he also mentions that liability protection should have its limits. It appears that the effort to decrease some liability for LTCFs is meant to encourage visiting from friends and family to help improve the quality of life for patients.
House Bill 7005 would shield LTCFs from certain liabilities
House Bill 7005 proposes enhanced legal protections for one year only. The enhancements would require that the plaintiff produce proof of the LTCF’s gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Additionally, a defendant would not be able to file certain lawsuits without first obtaining affidavits from state-licensed physicians.
The Florida Health Care Association asked the governor last year for protections against certain criminal and civil lawsuits. According to the FHCA, extreme prosecution could cause the long-term health care sector to crash.