The state of Florida has released the names of 303 nursing homes where their staff or patients have been tested positive for the coronavirus. Governor DeSantis reversed the Florida Department of Health’s policy and ordered the state’s surgeon general to release the names of the facilities who have had coronavirus cases. At the time of the seven page list release on Saturday, there had been 1,785 cases and 175 deaths among Florida nursing home staff and residents according to the Department of Health. The top three counties with the most facilities on the list are Miami-Dade with 54, Broward with 39 and Palm Beach with 36.
While this new information reveals which facilities have active COVID-19 cases, it does not provide the number of staff or residents who tested positive and does not list how many deaths, if any, each facility has had as a result of the disease. DeSantis said elder residents have been a primary concern for Florida since the pandemic began. He put procedures in place barring visitors from facilities for the last month, and this week he deployed the National Guard to do testing at long-term care homes with the highest numbers of positive cases.
The names of the Florida long-term care facilities were released at around the same time a Washington Post article slamming nursing home protocol was published. The article pointed out that hundreds of nursing homes across the country that now have coronavirus cases were previously cited for violating federal standards set up to control the spread of viruses.
The reporter points out that infection-control citations are the most common infractions nursing homes have been cited for. Preventing the spread of infections is exactly what the CDC was hoping to achieve when it released coronavirus recommendations in February. The guidelines have since been updated but were made available early on to properly prepare facilities for the oncoming reality of the virus.
Past infractions and prior knowledge of the oncoming virus may be enough to bring a claim against a nursing home. Read our article about whether or not nursing homes can be sued for being unprepared for the coronavirus.
There are challenges though including a large push by agencies to be considered immune. The Florida Health Care Association, the largest advocacy organization for long term care providers, recently sent Gov. DeSantis a letter requesting “immunity from any liability, civil or criminal” under certain conditions for nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities.
If you loved one is in a nursing home or assisted living facility on the COVID-19 Florida list, give us a call at (305) 670-0101 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about your options.