Lange bashed the first report but hailed more recent proposals, including one that calls for the Legislature to limit resident lawsuits. She also supports proposals that ask lawmakers for more money for mental health and other services, measures that may face a rough road in the current budget climate.
Lange added that Florida should not offer appeals for evicted residents.
Who is going to pay for those residents to keep living there while they go through appeal? she said. If a resident doesnt fit in, the facility should be able to ask that resident to leave.
Lange also defended a proposal to shield resident complaints from the public and the news media, despite concern from resident advocates that the rule would cloak poor-performing homes and lead to more death and neglect. An alternative would have allowed the complaints to be made public but with the residents name redacted.
Lange said its important to protect ALF operators from being sullied by false complaints. Industry representatives also argued during meetings that keeping complaints under wraps would ensure residents can air their grievances without fear of retaliation from their caretakers.
If every complaint was truly a real complaint, you might be able to go down that road and have everything out in the open, Lange said. You dont want to create a stir amongst people who dont understand.
Martha Lenderman, a patient advocate and former Department of Children & Families administrator, took exception to that.
Any time you have secrecy it tends to protect wrongdoers more than the victims, said Lenderman, who argued against the proposal, but was outvoted, 8-5.
Which proposals become law, if any, will depend on the legislators who sponsor them.
Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, who sat on the panel, often told the workgroup during meetings that the groups proposals are insignificant if they cant survive the Republican-dominated Legislature.
Lenderman said she fears that lawmakers will forgo patient welfare and cherry pick proposals that favor the industry.
These are individuals whose very lives, not to mention the quality of their lives, depend on the facility, the administrator and the staff not only to keep them safe but to make them feel like they are a member of the family, she said. We ended up with nothing last year, and Id hate to see that happen again.