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Florida fires back at feds over kids in nursing homes

The war of words between Florida health administrators and federal civil rights lawyers continued Friday as the administration of Gov. Rick Scott rebuffed the U.S. Justice Department’s offer to help remove hundreds of children from nursing homes.

In a letter to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Florida social service chiefs called “unfounded” the claim that the state needlessly warehouses disabled and medically fragile children in nursing homes meant to care for elders. Agency heads reached that conclusion after a two-week investigation in which they interviewed the parents or caregivers of many disabled children “to ensure that they were aware of the services available for them in the community.”

“In your letter, you express concern about the welfare of Florida’s children,” said the letter, signed by the lawyers for three state agencies — the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Children & Families and the Department of Health. “The state assures you that the healthcare professionals at the Florida agencies charged with the daily responsibility of ensuring child welfare are equally concerned.”
“Indeed, these hardworking employees at [the three agencies] have dedicated their lives and careers to ensuring that this and other vulnerable populations receive necessary medical services” in community settings, the letter states.

More from Carol Marbin Miller here.