Former Florida nursing home ombudsman files lawsuit

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Florida federal judge rules healthcare reform law unconstitutional
Florida federal judge rules healthcare reform law unconstitutional

A former long-term care watchdog has filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the Florida Health Care Association and the Florida Assisted Living Association for alleged “whistle-blower retaliation.”

Brian Lee, who was the state's long-term care ombudsman, is seeking $15,000 in damages for the "significant emotional distress and mental pain and suffering” resulting from his forced resignation in February. Lee's ousting drew headlines in February due to reports that Florida Gov. Rick Scott played a role in Lee's firing.

Lee, who had been in his job for seven years, says he was forced to resign after asking 677 Florida nursing homes to submit detailed ownership information. At the time, Lee said this practice would promote transparency and accountability in the state's long-term care facilities.

The lawsuit alleges that industry officials clashed with Lee over his reports of operator wrongdoing, and that Department of Elder Affairs' employees then retaliated against him.