With Florida’s elderly population expected to boom in the next two decades, state regulators must crack down on rogue assisted living facilities by shutting down homes where residents die from abuse, slapping harsher fines on places that repeatedly break the law, and boosting the qualifications of people who run ALFs, a legislative study says
A report released by the state Senate calls for sweeping changes in oversight of ALFs, asking lawmakers to improve a state system that’s woefully underfunded, allows caregivers to work with “inadequate training” and relies on “deficient’’ enforcement to protect thousands of frail residents.
“The rotten apples need to be shut down, and [regulators] were not doing it,’’ said Sen. Eleanor Sobel, a Hollywood Democrat and vice chair of the Health Regulation Committee, which headed the investigation. “The Agency for Health Care Administration needs to step up to the plate and do the job they’re supposed to do.”
The release of the interim project report is the latest effort by elected leaders to overhaul Florida’s oversight of ALFs, which has been severely criticized for allowing some of the worst homes to stay open, despite decrepit and dangerous conditions.
The study, carried out by Senate staffers over the past two months, was prompted by a Miami Herald investigation in May that found that dozens of vulnerable residents died of abuse and neglect in homes — nearly one a month since 2002 — and that the worst facilities were still in business. More here.