Daily Editors' Notes

Long-term care hardball in Florida

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Long-term care hardball in Florida
Long-term care hardball in Florida
Spring training has professional baseball players throwing and hitting balls all around Florida. But another big-time “sport” has been taking place — and it's also involved some powerful whacking.

We're talking about politics, of course. Call it the “Senior Series.”

Florida's top nursing-home resident advocate, Brian Lee, recently was knocked out of the box by new Gov. Rick Scott (R). The state's top exec previously ran the Columbia/HCA hospital chain and a chain of urgent-care centers. Actually, Lee resigned, but apparently he was told to take himself out of the game, or the governor would.

Now, the federal Administration on Aging has notified Florida officials they're going to make sure all the rules were followed in administering Lee's removal. And that the rules will be followed in naming Lee's replacement. Uncle Sam is an umpire in this mess because the ombudsman program is funded by taxpayer money.

The feds pointedly said they want somebody who is acceptable to consumer advocates. “Every effort to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest” must be made when picking a new state ombudsman, wrote an AOA official to Florida leaders.

The implication is clear. Federal officials more than suspect that nursing home lobbyists have become too cozy with certain politicians. The feds might have to tip their caps — this time —to those who successfully forced out an aggressive consumer advocate. While nobody knows if they're a stronger team, the Washington team has signaled they don't plan on just kneeling in the on-deck circle for the rest of the season.

If there's one sure bet out of this, it's that more games will be played.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.


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