Legislation would protect nursing home investors

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A piece of legislation that would prevent passive investors in a nursing home from being sued now awaits approval from Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).

The bill, SB 670, stems from lawyers in the state suing a wide group of those involved in a nursing home, including investors who may not be involved in daily resident care decisions. The bill allows other people to be brought into a lawsuit if they have authority to make decisions, and ensures “that residents can pursue lawsuits against those directly at fault for negative events,” according to the Florida Health Care Association.

The FHCA and the AARP were among the groups supporting the legislation, while critics, including former Florida long-term care ombudsman Brian Lee, charge that it offers too much protection to nursing homes. The bill was sponsored by Sen. John Thraser (R- St. Augustine) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach).

“The passage of this bill represents a victory for Florida's aging seniors,” said Emmett Reed, FHCA executive director, in a statement. “Florida's nursing homes are among the best in the nation and provide the highest level of care. We are indebted to Sen. Thrasher and Rep. Gaetz for their insightful leadership in developing legislation that will ensure that we can continue to meet the needs of seniors now and into the future.”

The bill also revises the procedures for family members who are trying to obtain resident records, and includes which records can be obtained. It also says that the Agency for Health Care Administration has the right to refuse to renew the license of a facility that loses a lawsuit and fails to pay any judgment or settlement within 60 days.

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