Officials with a Florida nursing home association recently filed a legal challenge to a proposed rule that they say would financially burden assisted living operators in the state and have a negative impact on elderly residents and their families. They also claim that the bill doesn’t recognize differences between assisted living and skilled nursing.
The litigation stems from House Bill 1001, which is known as the “Assisted Living Reform Bill.” The Florida bill was passed two years ago but is now undergoing rule making before some of its provisions become effective.
Florida Near the Top in Country for Number of Assisted Living Communities
The nursing home association, Florida Argentum, is the Florida chapter of the national organization, which previously was known as the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA).
Florida Argentum represents companies that operate professionally managed senior living communities, such as independent, assisted, and memory care, along with industry partners that serve senior living operators in Florida. Members of the group include the largest assisted living providers in the state.
Argentum says that the legislation and the rules promulgated pursuant to it are critical because Florida has one of the highest numbers of assisted living communities in the country. Argentum believes that the state’s interpretation of its own authority is inaccurate; limiting the power of state agencies to create policies that are deemed not to be supported by statute.
Rule Would Institute Difficult Requirements
Florida Argentum claims that the rule proposed by the state Department of Elder Affairs would prevent seniors from aging in place if they have certain medical conditions. The new rule would create requirements that most assisted living communities wouldn’t be able to meet.
For example, a senior resident who’d been treated in the hospital for a urinary tract infection and required IV therapy with antibiotics after she was discharged could receive those services if she were living in a single-family home—however, most assisted living communities in Florida wouldn’t be able to comply with these orders. As a result, the patient wouldn’t be able to receive her services at the assisted living community. The question would then be where she would go to receive the IV treatment. Probably to a rehabilitation center or a skilled nursing facility, Florida Argentum argues, which is excessive for a procedure the elderly woman could normally receive at her home in a care facility.
The organization also said that the proposed rule wants to apply Florida Medicaid requirements to all operators, even for residents not enrolled in Medicaid. That means facilities would be required to assess all incoming residents’ instrumental activities of daily living and develop a care plan at admission.
Added Liability Possible
The proposed rule change could also mean increased liability for facilities. The change could lead to increased rates. And assisted living communities could be liable for services provided to residents by third parties.
Challenges of proposed rules like Florida Argentum’s is doing are being presented to an administrative law judge and a hearing is scheduled. The judge then has 30 days to make a decision.
If you have questions about the effect of this new rule on a loved one’s residence at a nursing home, Florida Medicaid Attorney John Frazier can help. He’s a skilled Medicaid planning (with over 2,000 cases completed that helped preserve their family’s savings), estate planning and elder law practitioner. Please contact John for a free telephone consultation at 727-586-3306 extension 104. If you prefer click here now to send in a contact form, and we will call you.