Last week, we posted about an investigation in May by the Miami Herald on the deplorable state of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in South Florida and throughout the state. Now it seems that the current state of these facilities has caught the attention of two of Florida’s lawmakers.
The Herald reported that Florida Senator and Senate minority leader Chris Smith, after an inspection of Briarwood Manor in Lauderhill, contacted senator Ronda Storms with plans to join forces with other lawmakers to put a stop to the violations throughout Florida’s nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
Smith, along with the Department of Children and Families, the Attorney General’s Office, the Agency for Health Care and Administration and several other agencies, swept through four facilities in the Cannon Point in Lauderhill, which is home to the highest concentration of assisted-living facilities in Florida. Some of the findings at these facilities, including Briarwood Manor and Shalom Manor, included roach and rodent infestations in two of the facilities, broken furniture, and a 55-year-old man with an untreated swollen leg.
According to the Herald, Smith noted that he never knew that these facilities posed such a threat until the Herald’s investigation. He was also upset to learn that Briarwood gets hundreds of thousands of dollars to house its residents and that some of the tax dollars meant for residents were not being appropriated to them.
We applaud the steps that our lawmakers are taking to ensure the safety of our senior citizens. We hope that our Legislature and our law enforcement continue to work together to crack down on nursing home neglect and abuse. As attorneys, we will also do our part to ensure that the rights of the victims of these heinous acts are protected.