2018 Legislative Session –
Legislative Bulletin
Week One: January 5, 2018

2018 Legislative Session—Stay Informed!

Be sure to keep an eye out for the Weekly Legislative Update/Recap that will be sent out at the end of each week summarizing legislative activity on LeadingAge Florida priority issues and other bills of interest. The recap will include a link to the LeadingAge Florida Legislative Tracking Report that provides updated information on the status of our priority bills and bills being monitored. Click here for the initial bill tracking report.

Several bills relating to seniors, senior care and senior care providers have been filed along with proposals for consideration by the Constitution Revision Commission. A listing of bills of interest filed to date and CRC proposals is provided below.

2018 Senior-Related Issues

Legislative Proposals

Continuing Care Retirement Community – Care Contracts - SB 438 by Sen. Lee/HB 783 by Rep. J. Grant

  • Provide enhanced regulatory authority to the Office of Insurance Regulation to protect residents in continuing care retirement communities by providing financial triggers for OIR to use to identify and take corrective action against a financially challenged continuing care retirement community early enough to avoid a bankruptcy or insolvency.
  • Provide changes to the process for a certificate of authority, an expansion and an acquisition, among other things, that would result in a less burdensome application process for providers.
  • Provide enhanced disclosure of information to residents.

Hurricane Preparedness, Response & Recovery – Several bills have been filed that, in part:

  • Place requirements on nursing homes and assisted living facilities regarding emergency generators.
  • Require the Agency for Health Care Administration to determine compliance with emergency power requirements through unannounced inspections.
  • Treat nursing homes and ALFs as priorities for power restoration.
  • Create the Florida Strategic Fuel Reserve Task Force within the Division of Emergency Management to develop a recommended strategic fuel reserve for natural emergencies and major disasters.
  • Prohibit workers from being fired for following mandatory evacuation orders.
  • Create the Emergency Power Systems Matching Grant Program to provide matching funds to certain public and private health care facilities for purchasing generators.
  • Mandate that tolls be suspended in counties with a declared state of emergency.

Nursing Homes and Related Health Care Facilities – HB 655 by Rep. Edwards/SB 896 by Sen. Farmer

  • Require more detailed patient safety records.
  • Allow for undercover evaluations by the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman to investigate alleged violations, reporting said violations to the Agency for Health Care Administration, and the agency would then impose civil penalties of up to $5,000 or $10,000, depending on the subsection violated.
  • Make report cards on nursing homes accessible and transparent to the public.
  • Increase transparency.
    • Stop AHCA from redacting information on nursing homes.
    • Make report cards on nursing homes accessible and transparent to the public.
  • Reinstate an independent ombudsman.
    • Require a review by the ombudsman of all nursing homes’ emergency plans annually.
  • Put in place anti-retaliatory measures for whistleblowers.
  • Allow the use of electronic monitoring devices in resident room.
  • End limitations on punitive damages.
  • Require all nursing homes to have liability insurance – maintain general and professional liability coverage in an amount not less than $1 million per claim, with a minimum annual aggregate of not less than $3 million; If the agency determines that a resident died as the result of abuse or neglect, it shall immediately impose a $1 million civil penalty on the facility.
  • Require an Internal Resident Safety & Quality of Care coordinator program.

Nursing Home & ALF Resident Rights – HB 443 by Rep. Slosberg/SB 830 by Sen. Farmer & HB 331 by Rep. Slosberg/SB 1428 by Sen. Taddeo

  • Authorize AHCA to take action again a facility for failure to provide residents and the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program with facility contact information.
  • Give residents the right to access their personal and medical records.
  • Provide notice  requirements regarding relocation or termination of residency from an assisted living facility.

Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams – HB 259 by Rep. Watson/SB 422 by Sen. Gibson

  • Create Elder Abuse Teams in each judicial circuit to review elder abuse-related deaths.
  • Deaths reviewed are limited to cases that have been closed.
  • Teams are to make policy and other recommendations regarding prevention of abuse-related deaths to the Governor, Legislature, and Departments of Children and Families and Elder Affairs.

Hospice Care – HB 497 by Rep. Stone/SB 724 by Sen. Garcia

  • Authorize hospice to provide palliative care to seriously ill patients and their families in addition to terminally ill patients.

Senior Advocates – SB 500 by Sen. Garcia

  • Establishes the Senior Advocate Program in the Office of Public and Professional Guardians in DOEA.
  • Provides the purpose of the program is intended to strengthen and secure the legal rights, dignity, autonomy, quality of life, and quality of care of vulnerable seniors by providing volunteer advocates for vulnerable seniors age 60 years and older.
  • Provides that to resolve concerns regarding vulnerable seniors and improve their quality of life, senior advocates may collaborate with family members of vulnerable seniors, local social and health care service providers, behavioral health care providers, legal aid organizations, long-term care ombudsmen, religious organizations, food banks, area agencies on aging,  appropriate state agencies, local and state law enforcement agencies, and others.

Registration of Home Caregivers – HB 835 by Rep. Harrell/SB 1362 by Sen. Baxley

  • Authorize local governmental entities to establish a registration program for home caregivers.
  • Define home caregiver as a person who receives any form of compensation for assisting a vulnerable adult with one or more activities of daily living.

Elder Abuse – HB 1059 by Rep. Burton/SB 1562 by Sen. Passidomo

  • Create cause of action for injunction for protection of vulnerable adults from exploitation.

Tax Exemption for the Elderly – HB 1123 by Rep. Berman/SB 911 by Sen. Passidomo

  • Create a sales tax exemption for items that assist in independent living for the elderly.
  • Items exempted include:

1.     Bed transfer handles
2.    
Hospital beds
3.    
Power lift recliners
4.    
Furniture risers
5.    
Handrails, bed rails, or grab bars
6.    
Shower seats
7.    
Stair lifts
8.    
Toilet seat risers
9.    
Lever style doorknobs

Constitution Revision Commission Proposals

Proposal 54 by Commissioner Kruppenbacher

  • Eliminates the certificate of need process for hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities and renders all laws requiring CON to be void and of no effect.

Proposal 88 by Commissioner Heuchan

  • Creates a new section in Article I of the State Constitution to establish certain rights for residents of assisted living facilities and nursing home facilities in this state.
  • Rights described in the proposal include, among others:
    • The right to adequate and appropriate health care and treatment that puts the residents’ needs and best interests first.
    • The right to a safe, clean, comfortable, and homelike environment that protects residents from harm and takes into account this state’s challenges with respect to climate and natural disasters.
    • The right to access courts and a jury system that allows for a speedy trial and relief and remedies, without limitations, for loss, injury, and damages caused to residents and their families by the abuse, negligence, neglect, exploitation, or violation of residents’ rights by the facilities’ owners, operators, employees, professionals, and others who care for residents at such facilities.
    • The right to know and hold accountable all persons or entities who own or operate the facilities.

The right that the facilities will have the financial resources or liability insurance in order to ensure that residents and their families are justly compensated for any loss, injury, and damage they suffer because of abuse, negligence, neglect, exploitation, or violations of residents’ rights by owners, operators, employees, professionals, and others who care for residents at such facilities.

 

For more information, please email Susan Langston, Vice President for Advocacy at LeadingAge Florida, or call her at the number below.

 1812 Riggins Road, Tallahassee, FL 32308
 Phone (850) 671-3700 | Fax (850) 671-3790 | www.LeadingAgeFlorida.org