Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Manatee County and Nursing Homes and the COVID-19 Virus

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author:  In Search of Robin  So You Want to Blog.

The Florida nursing home Covid-19 crisis is a shameful disaster.
Herald-Tribune By Zac Anderson Political Editor: Coronavirus Florida: 23 deaths at 2 Manatee County nursing homes.
Even as nursing-home  residents continue to die, the nursing home industry is flexing its political mussel to get liability protection extended.
From the Herald-Tribune By Melanie Payne and Ryan Mills, Fort Myers News-Press: A showdown is brewing at Florida’s long-term care facilities just as coronavirus cases are ramping up.
From the article above: “J. Emmett Reed, Florida Health Care’s executive director, said in his organization’s letter that the ability to treat patients during the COVID-19 crisis is a “vital state concern. Brian Lee, former head of Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and a frequent critic of the long-term care industry, called the request “short-sighted” and a “repugnant stunt.” It shows the nursing home industry is more worried about its financial interest than patients’ health, he said.”
To get some idea of how the Florida Department of Health pays attention to the Nursing Home industry  Go to the Board of Nursing  Administrators and note every listed member’s term has expired.
Much like the people who get dumped in them, these Nursing Homes are on their own.
The industry failed to heed early warnings and continued to shuffle employees from location to location creating a traveling stream of Covid-19 infections.
There needs to be vastly improved State and maybe County oversight of these facilities. Somewhere around 9% of the nursing homes, mostly larger ones, have not yet installed the generators mandated in 2018. Too costly they say. How much is a life worth?
The legislature and the Governor should turn a deaf ear to requests for liability relief and should, in fact, remove what is there. A couple of good stiff liability settlements would probably do more to get the industry’s attention than anything else.
The Florida Department of Health should be mandated to protect those housed in these facilities and be funded to be able to accomplish that mandate.
As Manatee county became the epicenter for Nursing-Home  deaths, the lack luster approach of the County Commission certainly did not help those housed in Nursing-Home  facilities.
As this industry takes billions in federal and state funds nationwide, it is past time that more stringent controls be applied to the industry. And here in Florida, if you don’t have a generator, your nursing-home  license should be pulled immediately no matter whose campaign you contribute to.
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