Millions of elderly Floridians in long-term care facilities deserve a robust, independent watchdog to combat and prevent abuse and neglect.
At present, they have none.
The state’s Long-term Care Ombudsman Program sends volunteers to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to check on conditions and respond to complaints from residents and their families.
But a disturbing report la from the U.S. Administration on Aging charges that the program is hamstrung by political interference and by a lack of independence from the state Department of Elder Affairs — the agency it should be free to criticize.
At the center of this ongoing controversy is Gov. Rick Scott’s decision, soon after he took office in January, to fire ombudsman program leader Brian Lee, an outspoken advocate for the elderly who had antagonized the nursing home industry.
Lee’s dismissal shows the basic fault in the system. The ombudsman is supposed to have the authority to criticize the licensing rules for care facilities developed by the Department of Elder Affairs, and other activities.
But Elder Affairs also has the power to hire and fire the ombudsman.
The federal report says Elder Affairs administrators admit they do “not support the spirit” of the federal rules that are supposed to guarantee the independence of elder advocates and volunteers in the program.
That independence is critical to any ombudsman program seriously intended to deal with problems in long-term care.
Full Article and Source:
Long-Term Florida Care Cop Necessary
• Sen. Garrett Richter, District 37, 338-2777, email@example.com
• Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, District 27, 850-487-5356, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Sen. Mike Bennett, District 21, 225-3697, email@example.com
• Rep. Ken Roberson, House District 71, 941-613-0914, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Rep. Paige Kreegel, House District 72, 941-575-5820, email@example.com
• Rep. Matt Caldwell, House District 73, 533-2411, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
• Rep. Gary Aubuchon, House District 74, 344-4900, email@example.com
• Rep. Trudi Williams, District 75, 433-6775, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, District 76, 417-6200, email@example.com
• Rep. Matt Hudson, District 101, 417-6270, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Senate President Mike Haridopolos, 850-487-5056, email@example.com
• House Speaker Dean Cannon, 850-488-2742, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Gov. Rick Scott, 850-488-7146,