Senate Bill Puts Seniors In Danger

Representing Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Nearby Areas of Florida

A proposed “Medicaid” bill includes changes in the laws that hold nursing homes accountable for abuse, neglect, and exploitation of nursing home residents. Testimony from victims and attorneys, including CGWC partner, Melvin Wright, opposed this bill to no avail last week. Among other things, the bill would immunize the companies that take home the profits from operating nursing homes from any lawsuits. Nursing homes all over the country, including Florida, operate nursing homes through the use of mazes of corporations, only one of which holds the nursing home license. This licensee pays all its profits to its parent or sister companies. This new law would immunize the parent and sister companies from lawsuits for injury, abuse, neglect, and even death, and leave accountable only the licensee, a company typically uninsured and easily divested of assets. Since there is no law or regulation requiring a licensee to be insured or financially accountable for harm, this new bill would be a license to kill and neglect seniors with no recourse of the victims in civil courts. The only consequence, for even the most serious cases, would be disciplinary action by state agencies or against individual caregivers in criminal courts. While Senators supporting this bill claim otherwise, its language is clear–only the licensee would remain accountable to victims of abuse and neglect.  This is wrong.  Call your legislators and urge them to vote against the passage of this bill supported by big nursing home industry interests.