January 3, 2013
A year-long study performed by the Miami Herald has yielded a watch list for one out of every five nursing homes in the state of Florida.
After the extensive investigation, it was determined that the Department of Elders Affairs and the Department of Children & Families Services in Florida have neglected to report many cases involving nursing home abuse, including injuries, burns, and even wrongful death. In addition, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration (FAHA) failed to provide many of the abuse reports on its official website, including over 1,000 incidents of neglect and abuse.
In one instance, Bruce Hall, the director of Sunshine Acres Loving Care, threatened the residents with physical abuse, and carried out his threats on several occasions, sending one resident to the hospital with severe injuries. However, instead of closing down the facilities as legally required, Hall was only ordered to seek anger management and complete therapy sessions. On another occasion, a Clearwater nursing home patient died after being left in scalding bath water. The FAHA alerted to these and many other similar instances, yet no action was taken.
Additionally, of the 70 deaths that were reported only resulted in two criminal charges. As a result, most Florida nursing homes are under tight scrutiny. Although no criminal charges were filed in the the majority of the cases, the state of Florida allows the victims’ families to retain a Florida nursing home abuse attorney in order to file civil charges for personal damages.