In recent blogs, I have discussed Governor Scott’s Assisted Living Facility (ALF) Task Force and whether or not it will be successful given its makeup. Sunshinestatenews.com reported recently on the task force’s first meeting and what was presented.
The task force was formed to address assisted living facility abuse, maltreatment, and conditions in Florida facilities that have lead to illness, injury and death. Since 2002 there have been 70 ALF abuse and neglectrelated deaths. 26 facilities have been closed since 2005, but 1,732 facilities have been caught using illegal restraints since 2002.
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But panel member Larry Sherberg, who owns an ALF and represents the Florida Assisted Living Facility Association, disagreed with the overall picture painted of Florida ALFs. He reportedly stated, “None of it is any good; please don’t misunderstand me, but it’s not as prevalent as portrayed here.” Sherberg has previously criticized advocates for calling for higher standards and training for ALF workers. He argues that the task force should focus solely on those facilities that have had problems in the past, rather than imposing regulations over all ALFs.
Senator Ronda Storms, another panel member, has said she will submit legislation calling for more accountability from ALFs regardless of the task force’s recommendations. She argues the regulations should be based on common sense.
As a Tampa assisted living facility abuse lawyer, reports about this task force are concerning. Some members seem to be more concerned with protecting the interests of the facilities, rather than focusing on the real problems facing some of our most vulnerable citizens. Hopefully Sen. Storms will serve as the voice of reason and continue to advocate for ALF residents in Florida.