AARP Florida Strongly Opposes Legislation that Gives Nursing Homes Immunity Related to COVID-19
Senate Bill 74 would strip away resident rights and give nursing homes a go-ahead to neglect residents with impunity
Tallahassee, Fla. – AARP Florida State Director, Jeff Johnson, issued the following statement today urging members of the Florida legislature to stop efforts to give nursing homes and other long-term care facilities immunity related to COVID-19.
“The death toll from COVID-19 in our nursing homes is a national disgrace. More than 9,000 Florida long-term care residents have already died—alone and afraid, without family by their sides. In numerous cases, facilities may have contributed to those deaths and other harms by their lack of care or abuse.
“Now the Florida Legislature would strip from grieving families the right to seek justice for deceased and injured loved ones who may have been hurt or killed by negligent care. Legislation filed by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) would further erode the rights of older Floridians to seek redress for negligence and abuses endured in these facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tampa Bay Times reported on examples of shameful atrocities occurring in Senator Brandes’ own district.
“Disregard for Florida’s nursing home residents and their loved ones is appalling. At a time when consumer confidence in Florida’s long-term care system is at an all-time low, lawmakers would make things worse by letting nursing homes off the hook.
“Let’s be clear: stripping away the rights of older Floridians and their families is careless and irresponsible. Long-term care facilities must be accountable when their wrongdoing threatens the health—and lives—of residents and staff. Especially when isolated residents are vulnerable and often unable to advocate for themselves.
“AARP Florida continues to believe that our state must embrace a new vision for long-term care that addresses the real issues facing our nursing homes and long-term care facilities. We will never stop fighting for our members and all Floridians who use long-term care services. They deserve better, and this legislation is a shameful step backwards.”
More resources for the families of nursing home residents are available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomes.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.
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