Nursing Homes Ask Florida Governor for Protection Against COVID-19 Lawsuits

According to a news report, earlier this month, the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), asked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to provide health care facilities and providers with sovereign immunity for lawsuits related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The request asked the Governor to provide them with civil and criminal protection for any claim for damages related to their act or omission while providing healthcare services during the COVID-19 crisis. Further, the letter included a request for immunity for these entities and professionals if they are arranging or providing health care services.

Florida code defines health care facilities as agencies that are authorized to provide health care services, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes. The code also includes any site that provides health care services related to the COVID-19 outbreak. FHCA’s proposal does not include claims that are the result of any willful or intentional criminal or reckless misconduct, gross negligence, or intentional infliction of harm. However, it does request protection from acts and omissions related to staff or resource shortages.

Florida has the highest percentage of older adults in the country and almost 700 licensed nursing homes. Research suggests that those older adults that live in long-term supportive housing and nursing homes are at risk for abuse and neglect. Although many variables make the rate challenging to quantify, studies suggest that at least 1 in 10 residents over the age of 60 have suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home. Additionally, about 20 percent of Florida COVID-19 deaths are residents of nursing home facilities.

Some risk factors increase an individual’s risk for abuse and neglect, such as the individual’s need for dependence on staff for their safety or care. Issues often arise when a facility does not have enough trained staff or resources to provide its residents with appropriate care. These staff and resource shortages often result in staff haphazardly providing care or failing to provide care entirely. This can lead to widespread infection and subsequent fatalities. Many nursing homes rely on the fact that their vulnerable residents cannot articulate abuse and neglect. These facts make the FHCA’s request even more troubling for one of the state’s most defenseless populations. If the state provides these facilities with immunity, many victims will have little to no recourse for their injuries and damages.

Is Your Loved One at Risk in a Florida Nursing Home?

If you or a parent or grandparent has suffered injuries or death because of a negligent Florida nursing home, you should contact the attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. The attorneys at our firm understand that our clients need both compassion and diligent representation. Florida laws impose significant burdens on nursing home abuse plaintiffs, and our attorneys routinely overcome these challenges. We have recovered substantial compensation on behalf of nursing home abuse and neglect victims, as well as for their families. Compensation in these cases often include payments for medical expenses, ongoing medical treatment, burial expenses, and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with an injury attorney on our team.

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