Even as Florida health regulators vigorously defend against two federal lawsuits accusing them of warehousing sickly and disabled children in geriatric nursing homes, the homes themselves are quietly getting out of the kids business.
The most recent nursing home to abandon the pediatric market is Orlando Health & Rehabilitation Center, which operates a 40-bed pediatric wing called “Grandma’s House.” Orlando Health & Rehab, in Orlando, notified the state Agency for Healthcare Administration last week that it will voluntarily close the wing, said Michelle Dahnke, an AHCA spokeswoman in Tallahassee. Earlier this year, a troubled Miami Gardens nursing home, Golden Glades Nursing & Rehabilitation, shuttered its pediatric wing after the Miami Herald reported extensively about the deaths of two children who had been admitted there.
In July, the Lakeshore Villas nursing home in Tampa announced it would shut its doors after the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cut off all federal funding. At the time, AHCA had also announced its intention not to renew the home's license. Lakeshore Villas had been one of the state’s most troubled nursing homes, racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
The latest closure comes at a time of significant change and controversy over Florida’s methods for financing the care of severely disabled and medically complex children, whose housing and treatment can be enormously costly. More here from Carol Marbin Miller.