Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scandals Prompt FL Senate to Call for Revamping ALF Oversight

In response to a Miami Herald investigation into Florida assisted living facilities that uncovered sordid cases of elder abuse and neglect, the state Senate professional staff released a report calling for both increased and reorganized ALF regulatory oversight.

Currently, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is in charge of licensing and inspecting ALFs, and may impose administrative fines for certain types of violations. In certain circumstances, it has the authority to revoke or deny licenses depending on cited violations, or suspend services, if any condition related to the licensee presents a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of a client.

However, the Herald’s three-part series revealed that in many cases, the agency neglected to revoke licenses or shut down facilities even after multiple complaints and reports of abuse.

This led the Senate professional staff to recommend “the establishment of a workgroup that includes members of the various state agencies having ALF oversight responsibilities to determine those functions that are performed by more than one agency.”

Until the workgroup comes about, the Senate staff advises the Legislature to require each agency to establish a direct line of communication to the AHCA to immediately communicate a complaint received or observed deficiency concerning an ALF, and that the AHCA must immediately report each complaint.

Other recommendations include requiring quarterly reports from ALFs to the AHCA on occupancy rates and demographic and resident acuity information and increased surveys and inspections by the AHCA.

The report also details specific training and qualification recommendations for both ALF administrators and staff, and includes the possibility of requiring increased staff ratios for facilities with specialty licenses.

As far as penalties go, the report suggests limiting the AHCA’s discretionary powers in favor of requiring them to take certain measures based on certain actions.

Full Article and Source:
Scandals Prompt Florida Senate to Call for Revamped Assisted Living Oversight

See Also:
Read the Florida Senate Committee on Health Regulation Report


Chris said...

I applaud the Miami Herald for staying on this subject and pushing for reform.

Anonymous said...

Good news! And much needed in FLorida.