Rapid Increase in severe violations in Florida’s nursing homes
Serious Spike Violations in Florida’s Nursing Homes, Hire our skilled Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect abuse of neglect.
Florida, which has more than 700 nursing homes, has seen a dramatic increase in SERIOUS VIOLATIONS in our nursing homes over the last several years, dramatically increasing since 2019. In previous years, 2012-2018, we saw an average of 31 SEVERE VIOLATIONS IN NURSING HOMES, which is still 31 violations too many. But something changed in 2019, and the number of serious violations has nearly tripled, averaging 81 sever violations per year.
We do know that new regulations from the federal government were made and changes in inspections of nursing homes were made in 2016 and rolled out over 3 years. It is known that some of these new requirements resulted in high-level citations for a small percentage of these skilled nursing facilities. Some of these changes allow for the facility to receive multiple violations for the same incident.
It is not clear if these new rules and regulations account for any part of the surge in severe violations that have been reported and investigated. But it is extremely clear that the issue surrounding elder abuse and neglect in these nursing homes and other skilled nursing facilities is on the rise and needs to be addressed to protect the health and quality of life for our loved ones who are entrusted to these facilities for the care they need.
Violations, Complaints, and Catastrophic Injuries in Florida Nursing Homes
In the last 4 years, the rates of these violations and acts of negligence have skyrocketed. Last year alone 83 nursing homes were cited for serious violations of putting residents in immediate danger, 18 of those were right here in our backyard in Tampa Bay.
- Our St. Petersburg nursing home abuse lawyers recorded a nursing home that left an elderly man in a wheelchair outside on a hot 95-degree summer day for several hours. When staff found the man, he was unresponsive, his body was found to be 106 degrees.
- A resident worked with our Brandon nursing home abuse lawyer when he was found tied up in bed.
- A cognitively impaired woman was also found to be tied up in bed in her Oldsmar, FL nursing home.
- A resident of a Tampa, FL nursing home was brought to the hospital where he spent 11 days in their care because the staff failed to report a medical change to his doctor and was kept on the incorrect medication.
- Naples, FL nursing home fails to treat bed sores, resulting in am amputation of the leg.
- Live Oak, FL nursing home let’s man wander from the property, he was then hit an killed by a car.
More than half of the serious violations that have been found are attributed to staff shortages or lack of training of the staff the facility has on the floor assisting your loved ones.
Why are we seeing an increase in violations in nursing homes?
Last year alone, nursing homes were cited a staggering 53 times for issues and violations that involved understaffing or lack of training. Discovering and attacking this systemic problem isn’t as easy as it seems. A facility, Destin Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center has the most class 1 deficiencies and recently lost their Medicare and Medicaid Funding due to the high volume of violations. But what’s the number one thing that causes a facility to see repeat violations, or violate any regulations in the first place?
It is our opinion that the systemic problem is in fact, greed. It is known that more than half of all violations or acts of negligence that cause harm to residents in skilled nursing facilities are based on “understaffing”, or “untrained staff”. If the true problem was as simple as “there is not enough staff”, then that issue could be addressed by hiring trained skilled and trained nursing staff. But, that costs money, a lot of money in fact. When we look at nursing homes costs and expenses, the highest cost is of course, the cost of labor.
Florida nursing homes must abide by the minimum staffing requirements. But what is the minimum, and how does that compare to the required care time of each patient?
Nursing home facilities take on patients with the greatest amount of need, also called their acuity level, because this requires an increased level of care for the patient, means the billing for their services will be much higher. But does the patient receive an increased amount of care?
As an example, let’s assume a facility has only 20 patients; each patient’s acuity level requires 5 hours of care for each patient. You would assume this means the facility would staff 100 hours of caregivers time per day. In the summer 2021, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law allowing nursing homes to hire less experienced employees, known as personal care attendants, to supplement the work of nursing assistants. Also, the state of Florida lowered the minimum staffing hours from 2.5 hours per day per patient, to 2 hours per day, a 20% reduction in the required care time to be provided. On top of this, DeSantis in the following year signed a law broadening the kinds of employees who would count towards “minimum staffing levels”.
This means, for our example facility with 20 patients, knowingly should be staffing no less than 100 hours of CNA care coverage, is now allowed to only staff the facility for 40 hours of care coverage, with lower-level employees who only are required to have 16 hours of training, meaning they lack the training necessary to tend to our elderly family members, and there are not enough employees to help every resident.
Where does all this extra money that the facility collects go if not to staffing costs? Directly into their pockets. We must remember that these facilities are FOR PROFIT business. There is nothing wrong with a company earning a profit, it is of course a business. The problem is when a business cares more about money than it does the people it was designed to help and protect.
What to do after a loved one is neglected in a nursing home in Florida
OUR ATTORNEYS CAN HELP YOU SEEK JUSTICE FOR YOUR NEGLECTED OR ABUSED LOVED ONES IN FLORIDA’S NURSING HOMES
If you suspect your family member has been neglected or abused in any assisted living facility or nursing home, do not delay in acting. Reach out to our lawyer at Distasio Law Firm today. Our team of compassionate attorneys have handled cases involving neglect, abuse, and wrongful death in Florida’s nursing homes for more than 32 years, and we are ready to fight for your loved one, too. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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