Re Carl Hiaasen’s Oct. 1 column, “Negligence — yes, but also legislative cowardice to blame for nursing home deaths:”
In Hiaasen’s view, the tragic deaths of 14 residents at a Hollywood Hills nursing home were the inevitable result of years of neglect, and worse, by a powerful industry that imposed its will on the Florida Legislature.
While I certainly agree that the deaths are intolerable and need to be properly investigated, the assertion that this somehow represents the entire long-term care profession does a great injustice to the thousands of highly skilled professionals who dedicate themselves to caring for some of our state’s most fragile residents.
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Gov. Rick Scott’s goal to have generators in place at every long-term care center.During a recent summit on this issue, we heard from many speakers that the shortened timetable is not achievable, but we remain committed to working with Gov. Scott and others to make sure our centers are as safe as possible, as soon as possible.
Here are some facts, so easily disregarded in the zeal to criticize the entire profession based on the actions (or inactions) of one facility — a center that isn’t even a member of our association:
Over the past year, nearly 1,500 FHCA long-term care professionals have taken part in emergency preparedness training.
During Hurricane Irma, FHCA centers performed more than 60 successful evacuations.
Upward of 400 nursing centers lost power during Hurricane Irma, yet our members continued successfully caring for 68,000 residents throughout the storm.
Hiaasen’s column is quick to tarnish the reputation of our industry. I wholeheartedly believe the many dedicated, caring professionals deserve better than to have their reputations tarnished by the tragic, but isolated, events at a single nursing home.
John C. Simmons, president,
Florida Health Care