Nursing homes were there for our family members, we’ve got to be there for them.
Last week, health care liability protections advanced as part of the now-amended business liability protections bill, SB 72 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (St. Petersburg).
During the committee meeting, Sen. Brandes spoke about the heroic work of long term caregivers. “To my knowledge, not one nursing home in the state of Florida pushed their residents to the curb and said we can no longer keep you safe, we can no longer take care of you,” Brandes said. “They powered through this, and they struggled through it. We asked them to ‘MacGyver’ their way through a global pandemic and they were there, and they did the best they could for the residents they had. They were there for our family members on the front end of this. We’ve got to be there for them on the back end of this.”
Administrator Joanne Watson of Miracle Hill Health and Rehabilitation Center, who appeared before the committee, shared with FHCA the challenges that her center has experienced as a result of the pandemic and how excessive lawsuits would have a negative impact on the financial stability of the profession. “We’ve had extreme difficulty obtaining staff; it’s simply beyond my imagination…The cost to retain staff and the cost to provide PPE and the cost to make sure technology is in place and to maintain infection control is astronomical. We can’t afford lawsuits…we need to pour our resources into our residents.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, long term care providers continued to adjust their practices as they worked through a multitude of obstacles, including personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages, lack of timely and adequate testing, and guarding against an individual’s ability to spread the virus without signs or symptoms. This unprecedented crisis has exacerbated systemic issues impacting the nursing home sector, such as workforce shortages and reimbursement shortfalls. FHCA is advocating for COVID-19 liability protections for long term care providers to ensure that their resources can stay directed toward caring for residents, hiring staff and keeping both protected from the virus.
Watch the video of Senator Brandes from the committee meeting, along with the follow-up interview Ms. Watson, to learn more about the challenges facing the long term care sector.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION
The Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) is a federation that serves nearly 1,000 members and represents more than 500 long-term care facilities that provide skilled nursing, post-acute and subacute care, short-term rehab, assisted living, and other services to the elderly and individuals with disabilities in Florida. The mission of FHCA is to advance the quality of services, image, professional development, and financial stability of its members. As Florida’s first and largest advocacy organization for long-term care providers and the elderly they serve, the Association has worked diligently since 1954 to assist its members with continuously improving quality of care and quality of life for the state’s growing elder care population. For more information about the Florida Health Care Association, visit http://www.fhca.org.