Assisted Living Reform Bill Dies in Florida Legislature

After weeks of back and forth lobbying and debate between the Senate and the House, the Florida Legislature could not agree on a bill that would have increased oversight of Assisted Living Facilities (ALF).

The Senate wanted tougher regulations imposed to deal with what one senator described as “atrocities” in the ALF industry. The Florida Assisted Living Association backed the House version of the bill that emphasized increased enforcement of current regulations over proposed new directives and fines.

The bill was proposed after an expose in the Miami Herald last year revealed 70 cases of death due to abuse and neglect in Florida’s assisted living facilities since 2002. According to the Herald, nearly once a month, a resident at an ALF dies from abuse and neglect, but law enforcement seldom makes arrests. And while 550 new homes have opened in Florida in the past five years, the state has dropped inspections by 33 percent and has allowed the worst abusers to stay open.

The litany of abuses outlined by the Herald sound like something out of a horror movie: homes using illegal restraints, ropes, and tranquilizers to subdue patients; locking residents in closets; and caretakers denying tenants basic needs like food and water.

Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich (D-Weston) said, “These are some of the most vulnerable people in our state, and we need to make sure we take care of them.”

It is the obligation of all assisted living facilities to properly care for the residents in their care, and it is unacceptable when neglect and abuse leads to injury and death. If you feel a family member has been injured or even has died due to neglect and abuse at an ALF, a nursing home abuse attorney in Tallahassee at Farah & Farah stand ready to seek damages and to see that the abuse is stopped. Call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free consultation.