Fla. advocacy group wants health care providers, nursing homes immune from negligence lawsuits

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Credit: via WINK News.

There is a letter sitting on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk that has some people outraged, and he hasn’t answered it yet.

The Florida Health Care Association wants the governor to give nursing homes and hospitals new protections from their residents, patients and families.

“It’s very difficult” said Tammy Baker, whose mother is in assisted living in Charlotte County. “Nobody takes care of your loved one like you would.”

Baker visits her mother under tight constraints at the home she’s living in.

“She’d only been in this facility for about two weeks before I wasn’t allowed to go in and see her,” Baker said.

But Baker has no complaints about her mother’s care.

But if something were to happen, Florida Health Care Association wants to make sure people such as Baker’s mother and any other loved ones would not be able to file a negligence lawsuit against a nursing home, assisted living facility or hospital.

“To me, it’s almost a repugnance stunt,” said Brian Lee, the executive director of Families for Better Care.

Lee points to a portion of the letter.

“Any health care facility or health care professional should have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, for any harm or damages ” so that they may work “without fear of reprisal for providing care to their patients,” per the letter sent to the governor.

Gov. DeSantis said he has not decided whether he will support or oppose the immunity request.

We also reached out to Lee Health and NCH Healthcare System for comment, but no representatives from either health organization has responded yet.

In Southwest Florida, 95 residents or staff in nursing homes have contracted COVID-19, and 10 of them have died.

Statewide, it’s more than 1,500 cases with 141 deaths.

“I would’ve thought that nursing homes would’ve been the most equipped because they are skilled nursing facilities,” Lee said. “And, at the end of the day, what we’re seeing or what we have watched sadly is that they are little more than land-based cruise ships, petri dishes with this virus can just bread and spread.”

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