Florida Bill to Shield Nursing Home Investors from Lawsuits Gets Final Approval

Investors in nursing homes in Florida would be shielded from lawsuits when residents are abused or neglected under broad new provisions authorized in a bill the Florida House sent to the governor. The bill, SB 670, passed 109-7 after it had been passed in the Senate. The measure has the backing of the Florida Justice Association, the association representing trial lawyers, and AARP of Florida. But it was vigorously opposed by elder advocates and Tampa-based trial lawyer Jim Wilkes, who has successfully sued dozens of nursing homes that have attempted to shield their assets. The National Organization for Women Florida Chapter and the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, and union groups representing the health care workers in nursing homes, are among the groups that warned the measure will not only hurt residents of nursing homes but subject individual staff members to lawsuits while the owners are shielded. “The Florida Legislature just handed the nursing home industry a ‘get of jail free card’ in cases of abuse or neglect,” said Brian Lee, director of Families for Better Care, a nonprofit that advocates for senior rights and is heavily funded by Wilkes. “If enacted, the nefarious operators, those who cut staffing and care budgets just to maximize profits, will be exonerated from ALL wrongdoing.” He predicted that nursing homes will take advantage of this new shield on liability and warned that “care that’s bad now is about to get whole lot worst.”

Source/more: Miami Herald 

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