Florida – March 5, 2021

Federal reporting requirements.

Florida nursing homes and residential facilities are required to report abuse in accordance with Federal Law.  When allegations, or proof of nursing home abuse exists, nursing homes, and assisted living communities must not only report, but investigate all allegations of mistreatment, exploitation, neglect, and abuse to the Florida State Agency.  An immediate report must be submitted within two hours of the knowledge of wrongdoing ,when abuse and serious bodily injury occur, and no later than 24 hours after the discovery of a negative resident incident.  Follow up reports must be submitted to the Agency for Health Care Administration within five days in order to comply with Federal Regulations. If a resident, or their loved ones is concerned about abuse in a residential facility, they should talk to administration to make sure the allegations are being reported, and speak with a nursing home abuse attorney who can guide them through actions that will address the safety of the abused resident, and future care.

Residents’ rights.

The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV: of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 created uniform guidelines for long-term care facilities receiving federal Medicaid and Medicare funding that grant all nursing home residents the rights to maintain and receive adequate nutrition, personal hygiene, mental and emotional support, and social involvement.

Nursing home abuse can occur during various daily living situations through methods of verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, involuntary seclusion, and unintentional abuse.  An elder law attorney can assist individuals with concerns before placement in a nursing home, or assisted living facility.

When staff shortages occur, unintentional abuse may follow – warning signs may include developing bed sores, exacerbation of conditions like diabetes due to changes in medication, diet, and exercise, frequent falls, or poor hygiene such as lack of bathing, or brushing teeth.

 Liability.

Nursing homes may be liable for negligence in care via unintentional abuse, leading to a decline in a resident’s physical health, and can be sued for monetary compensation for the abuse, or neglect. When residents are being neglected, either they, or their loved ones can report the concerns with a Florida Nursing Home Ombudsman, or contact a nursing home abuse attorney to discuss concerns, and options to cure.

Act against abuse.

If you suspect nursing home abuse, or negligence and notice severe signs that may be life threatening or emergent, call 911.  If you are still concerned about the safety of your loved one, you may contact the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) who routinely handle nursing home complaints. You can call (888) 419-3456 or file a complaint online.

Hire a lawyer.

Contact an attorney who has experience in nursing home abuse if you think legal action is required for violations of resident rights at a Florida nursing home.  There may be multiple parties named in legal actions, including an owner corporation, the individual site administration, and patient care workers.

Sources:

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=d2139960acbd87487e88a2930b509293&mc=true&node=pt42.5.483&rgn=div5

https://data.medicare.gov/Nursing-Home-Compare/Deficiencies-Displayed-on-Nursing-Home-Compare-Cyc/np3k-uatv

https://data.medicare.gov/Nursing-Home-Compare/Penalties/g6vv-u9sr/data

https://ahca.myflorida.com/MCHQ/Field_Ops/CAU/Federal_Reporting.shtml

https://apps.ahca.myflorida.com/hcfc/

https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/house-bill/3545/titles

 

 

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