Families for Better Care's letter to Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) requesting an amendment to SB1132 that would prohibit personal care attendant hours from being included within the nursing home staffing calculation.
April 6, 2021
Senator Aaron Bean
13453 North Main Street
Jacksonville, FL 32218
RE: SB 1132 Comments
Dear Seantor Bean:
My name is Brian Lee and I serve as the executive director of Families for Better Care, a national nursing home resident advocacy group. The purpose of my correspondence is to offer our feedback on Senate Bill 1132, your personal care attendants legislation.
Families for Better Care has closely listened to your remarks about SB 1132’s merits. We applaud your effort in trying to find a way to help strengthen the nursing home workforce so residents receive top notch care and your steadfastness in finding an approach that will prevent staffing shortages during future crises, similar to what facilities experienced throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Your urgency to help our loved ones living in nursing homes is commendable.
Senate Bill 1132 has the real potential to make nursing homes safer if, and only if, your legislation is amended to ensure that personal care attendant hours are not included in a facility’s staffing calculation as prescribed in § 400.23(3)(a), Fla. Stat.
If this revision is not made, it opens the door for nursing homes to fudge the staffing formula as a cost savings measure. Please know, that while there are many well-intentioned providers, the nursing home industry is not averse to exploiting loopholes for their own benefit at the expense of residents and their safety.
Recent investigations by the Department of Justice and the Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General have uncovered frightening instances that have imperiled nursing homes residents’ lives.
Here are just a few examples:
“All too often, we have found nursing home owners or operators who put profits over patients, lead to instances of gross abuse and neglect.”—Attorney General William P. Barr, Department of Justice, March 3, 2020
“[Florida nursing home company] engaged in a multi-year scheme to defraud Medicare by misrepresenting the level of services they provided…resulting in a [False Claims Act] judgment of more than $255 million…the company was observed routinely submitting upcoded claims and falsifying reports summarizing patients’ medical conditions and treatment.”—Department of Justice, June 25, 2020
“Florida did not ensure that nursing facilities always reported potential abuse or neglect of Medicaid beneficiaries transferred from nursing facilities to hospital emergency departments…Florida lacked written policies and procedures for processing incident reports, had inadequate intake staffing, had inadequate incident report processing, lacked written policies and procedures for managing late incident report filings, and lacked written policies and procedures for managing APS abuse and neglect investigation notifications."—Office of Inspector General, March 4, 2021
Senate Bill 1132, if enacted properly, would afford nursing homes a new staffing initiative that could benefit residents; however, affording the nursing home industry the benefit of the doubt to virtuously implement your good idea, without the necessary guardrails to prevent impropriety, is too risky of a venture for our loved ones.
Families for Better Care requests you amend SB 1132 to prohibit nursing homes from using personal care attendant hours in staffing calculations.
Thank you for your consideration.
Please contact your lawmaker and demand this amendment to Senate Bill 1132.Download