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Censoring Florida’s Nursing Home Reports Is A XXXX Bad Idea

Orlando Sentinel

Source: Orlando Sentinel

By Scott Maxwell

Whenever government starts censoring things, you should probably pay attention.

In other words: It’s time to pay attention.

As the Sentinel recently revealed, Florida health officials have a developed a disturbing habit of redacting key details from inspection reports of long-term care facilities.

What does this mean to you? Well, let’s say you’re looking for a place for Mom and are wondering how the previous residents fared.

As reporter Kate Santich explained, you might find a report that tells you a previous resident died — but not how, when or where.

A report on a Miami facility, for instance, revealed that someone called “On XXXX at 3:14 p.m” to report “there was a body floating in the XXXX.”

So, um, good luck in your new home, Mom. If you think you might drown in a XXXX, just call XXXX for help.

The best excuse Gov. Rick Scott’s Agency for Health Care Administration could offer was to say a new computerized redacting program might be accidentally censoring too much information.

If so, it’s odd that the agency has not yet found the desire or summoned the competency to fix it.

After all, imagine how any of these bureaucrats would react to being told: Sorry, the only thing we can tell you about your father’s bed sores is that it was caused by problems in the XXXX sometime around XXXX.

This administration hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to long-term care facilities.

Not long after Scott took office, the feds came in to investigate his administration’s ousting of the state’s top elder-care watchdog — a guy who was kicked out in the midst of a push for greater accountability at long-term care facilities. Shortly after that, the state also reduced the standards of care for residents and tried to undermine the volunteer ombudsman program.

Basically, Florida bills itself as an ideal place for retirees to live out their final days while doing less and less to ensure that those final days are safe.

“Deregulation” sounds swell … until you realize that the “regulations” you’re talking about are meant to make sure your dad isn’t left to wallow in his own filth and that your mom gets the medicine she needs.

If these censored reports are just a computer glitch, then fix it. Fast. Because there’s no XXXX excuse for keeping secrets when it comes to the health and safety of vulnerable senior citizens.

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