This is Part XXVIII of MY STUPID STATE where I document what happens when a state full of Democrats elect a veto-proof, right-wing legislature along with a teabag, CRIMINAL governor to lead us. (Once again, yes--an actual bona-fide criminal who literally stole from seniors, who subsequently elected him.) This is my documentation of my beloved but idiotic state of Florida's slow descent into chaos.
You would think that the large geriatric population in Florida would mean that the teabaggers would at least ensure there is proper funding and oversight for nursing homes.
And you would be wrong.
First of all, Florida nursing homes are in serious, serious trouble. Rick Scott and his GOP allies cut back funding drastically; and coupled with federal cuts we now have Florida facilities with NO way to meet payroll expenses:
But even more alarming, operators say, is the prospect of no beds available for the sickest patients, who need the highest — and most costly — levels of nursing.
But don't worry, the Florida legislature made sure to match the cuts by allowing lesser care for the patients. They were able to pass a bill that limits the number of hours of direct care. They also tried (and will try again next year) to target volunteers to make it extremely difficult to visit a facility. (Pretty soon, it will be almost as hard as registering to vote.)
Bottom line: It will be harder for quality nursing homes to remain in business... but this is great news for the greedy ones who never cared about the patient. Just how bad have things gotten?
If you can stomach it, the Miami Herald did an expose of horrible stories of residents being tortured, starved, drugged, and brutalized.
Luckily, there was Ombudsman Brian Lee, head of the state's watchdog program. Lee had an office set up years ago with virtually no budget, and an army of unpaid volunteers. All they did was visit nursing homes and report obvious cases of filth and neglect.
He was aggressive and successful. Surveys showed 98 percent satisfaction. The program had conducted a record-high 9,000-plus investigations the previous year. It cost virutally nothing.
Naturally, Lee and his team was HATED by the nursing-home industry. Nursing home operators in December had urged Gov. Rick Scott to replace Brian Lee for being "too aggressive."
In his lawsuit, Lee said he was approached soon after Scott's election and told to either resign or be fired because he was asking for too much information.
He refused to resign, and Gov. Voldemort fired him as one of his first acts as goober.
To this day, Sick Rott cannot explain why. He told federal investigators it was "normal turnover". (Odd, since Lee was fired. But I guess lying to federal investigators comes second nature to Gov. Scott.)
The new ombudsman is Jim Crochet, appointed to the position by Charles Corley, appointed by Sick Rott. All are friendly to the industry and have so far done nothing... whcih was the plan all along.
In fact, the US Administration on Aging recently investigated and detemirned that our ombudsman program doesn't even meet the minimum standard for protectng and caring for the elderly.
You can now add seniors now to the long list of victims (children, the poor, veterans, the mentally disabled, dentists, teachers, all government employees, and as of yesterday, dwarfs, etc.) of Rick Scott and his allies. I guess it wasn't enough to just steal their money...