Nurs­ing home bills would boost role of ad­vo­cate for res­i­dents

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - LOCAL - By Dan Sweeney Staff writer BILLS, 2B

At least a dozen bills to reg­u­late nurs­ing homes are un­der con­sid­er­a­tion in the Florida Leg­is­la­ture after 14 peo­ple died at a Hol­ly­wood, Florida, nurs­ing home that lost power dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Irma.

The lat­est are iden­ti­cal bills filed Tues­day by state Rep. Katie Ed­wards, D-Plan­ta­tion, and state Sen. Gary Farmer, DFort Laud­erdale, that give new teeth to Florida’s Long-Term Care Om­buds­man pro­gram, which records show has reg­u­larly turned up fewer com­plaints each year un­der Gov. Rick Scott.

Many of the bills, in­clud­ing those of Ed­wards and Farmer, re­quire nurs­ing homes and as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties to have gen­er­a­tors ca­pa­ble of pow­er­ing air con­di­tion­ing in the event of a power loss.

Un­der Tues­day’s bills, the Om­buds­man pro­gram, which is sup­posed to look out for res­i­dents in Florida’s 683 nurs­ing homes and thou­sands of as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties, would be al­lowed to con­duct un­der­cover op­er­a­tions in­side nurs­ing homes, pos­ing as pa­tients or em­ploy­ees, to look for abuse and ne­glect.

“They say we’ll leave it to the

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