Florida is on the Brink of Passing a New Law Related to Nursing Home Litigation

Nursing home abuse and neglect is an ongoing issue throughout the United States. In Florida alone, the Florida Health Care Association estimates that about 72,000 elders rely on nursing homes for long-term care. For providing a private room, a Florida nursing home receives on an average $91,615 a year per resident. If a nursing home accepts Medicaid, they are bound by certain federal regulations that outline the standard of care they must provide. Currently, federal regulations state that a nursing home resident has the right to live in an environment without physical, mental, verbal, or sexual abuse.

Despite these regulations, our Panama City elder care attorneys know that abuse and neglect is a common occurrence in these nursing home facilities and strive to protect the interest of nursing home abuse victims. On Wednesday, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill that is on its way to Governor Rick Scott for approval. The bill, known as SB-670, is expected to have a huge impact on nursing home litigation.

What is SB-670?

According to the Florida State Senate, these are the key points of the SB-670 Bill:

  • SB-670 prohibits "passive investors" from being named as defendants in suits against nursing homes. SB-670 defines a passive investor as a "an individual or entity that has an interest in a facility but does not participate in the decision-making or operations of the facility"
  • SB-670 still allows other parties to be brought into lawsuits if it can be shown that they have the authority to make decisions at the nursing home
  • SB-670 authorizes the Agency for Health Care Administration to revoke a license or deny a license renewal of a nursing home if it fails to pay a judgment or settlement agreement
  • SB-670 revises the procedures for obtaining the records of a nursing home resident

How will the SB-670 Bill impact Nursing Home Litigation?

The bill has been somewhat controversial because of the effect it has on the liability of passive investors. According to the Associated Press, supporters of the bill claim that by shielding passive investors from lawsuits, it will cause them to invest more in the state's nursing homes and eventually provide better care for nursing home residents. Supporters also argue that the fear of excessive litigation prevents investors from creating new nursing home facilities and boosting Florida's nursing home industry.

On the other hand, critics argue that passive investors usually focus on cutting costs and maximizing profits, and this has a direct correlation to deaths and injuries in nursing homes. Regardless, it is undisputed that the Bill allows for easier access to nursing home residents' records and will help streamline cases.

Nursing home abuse or neglect can be a complicated and harrowing battle. If you believe that you or a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, please contact one of our experienced Panama City elder abuse attorneys today. We are knowledgeable about changes in the law and will make sure that your interests are well represented.

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