Florida’s legislative session is complete for 2018 and will not take place again until March 2019. The 2018 session was dominated by the tragic loss of life that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Irma and the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. The end of session produced legislation that adopted emergency generator rules for assisted living communities and nursing homes, and increased safety measures involving guns and public schools. The fewest bills in 15 years ended up passing the full legislature.
Details on bills involving senior living and senior care that were supported, opposed or monitored by the Florida Senior Living Association are as follows:
BILLS THAT PASSED
Emergency Preparedness, SB 7028
(Senate Rules Committee)
This bill ratified and adopted the emergency power source rule for assisted living communities, Rule 58A-5.036. Assisted living communities are currently implementing this rule, which basically requires generators and fuel be maintained at the community in order to provide enough electricity to run equipment that cools portions of the building to 81F° during a power outage.
Status: Approved by Governor, Laws of Florida Chapter No. 2018-122
Effective Date: March 26, 2018
(Rep. Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast)
The only other hurricane related bill that passed provides an exemption from Florida sales tax of up to $15,000 for the purchase of a generator for any single assisted living community or nursing home facility during the period of July 1, 2017 through December 31, 2018. The exemption is applied at the time of purchase or is available through a refund process to be developed by the Florida Department of Revenue. The application for a refund must be submitted by September 23, 2018.
Status: Approved by Governor, Laws of Florida Chapter No. 2018-118
Effective Date: March 23, 2018 and retroactive to July 1, 2017
AHCA Regulation, SB 622
(Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring)
This bill affects health care providers throughout the state that are regulated by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). The bill eliminates obsolete language, eliminates licensing of heath care facility risk managers, and repeals state licensure of clinical laboratories in favor of deferring to federal requirements. The bill also revises several assisted living regulations that Florida Senior Living Association worked on with the agency over that past two sessions:
- Increases penalties for operating an assisted living community without a license;
- Assisted living community may not be operated more than 120 consecutive days without an administrator who has completed core training;
- A resident may be charged for a new service without the requirement of a 30-day notice;
- The resident right of access to adequate and appropriate health care has been revised to better fit the assisted living model with an emphasis on providing assistance;
- Codifies rule that requires an administrator to complete core training within 90 days of employment;
- Licensees with multiple communities may request that expiration dates of all licenses be aligned;
- Expands level II background screening to persons contracted to work 20 or more hours per week who have access to resident funds, personal property or living areas; and
- Clarifies that no person may have an ownership interest, directly or indirectly, if that person has a disqualifying offense or had an interest in a provider that had a license revoked. This does not apply to shareholders of publicly traded corporations.
Status: Approved by Governor, Laws of Florida Chapter No. 2018-024
Effective Date: July 1, 2018
Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult, HB 1059
(Rep. Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland)
The bill creates a cause of action and court procedure for obtaining an injunction to protect a vulnerable adult from exploitation by freezing the assets and credit lines of the vulnerable adult, and freezing assets of the individual exploiting the vulnerable adult where assets are traceable to the exploitation. The injunction may be sought by the vulnerable adult, a guardian or another entity that has consent.
Status: Approved by Governor, Laws of Florida Chapter No. 2018-100
Effective Date: July 1, 2018
Opioids, HB 21
(Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton)
The bill addresses opioid abuse by expanding the use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), increasing regulation of prescribers and dispensers, amending criminal laws and making appropriations. The bill also:
- Limits prescribing of opioids for acute pain to a three-day supply, or a seven-day supply if deemed medically necessary by the prescriber;
- The bill excludes prescribing limits for pain related to cancer, terminal illness, palliative care and serious traumatic injury; and
- Requires physicians or their staff members to check with a statewide database before prescribing or dispensing drugs.
Status: Approved by Governor, Laws of Florida Chapter No. 2018-013
Effective Date: July 1, 2018
BILLS THAT DID NOT PASS
Continuing Care Contracts, SB438/HB783
These bills proposed to improve the early warning signs of a CCRC’s solvency issues. The bills proposed to revise the Office of Insurance Regulation’s authority to regulate providers of continuing care, revise and streamlines applications for licensing and acquisition of a CCRC, increase reporting requirements, and revise provisions related to reserve requirements. FSLA was supportive of this legislation.
Additional Regulatory Requirements, SB 1428/HB 443
These companion bills required ALFs to provide copies of notices for relocation or termination of residency to the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, required the ALF to duplicate information already provided to AHCA and provide it separately to the Ombudsman Program, and required nursing home facilities to provide access to or copies of resident’s medical records under certain conditions & within a very short timeframe. The Ombudsman Program has indicated it will pursue this bill again in the 2019 Legislative Session. FSLA opposed this bill.
Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams, SB 422/HB 259
The bills create an elder abuse fatality review team in each judicial circuit to review closed cases where the death of an elderly person was alleged or found to have been caused by, or related to, abuse or neglect The teams are comprised of volunteers from public and private entities that study, treat, investigate, or prevent elder abuse and may include persons who have knowledge of the laws concerning fatalities due to elder abuse. Each team may review information from law enforcement and Adult Protective Services files under the condition that the information remain confidential. The teams are charged with developing practice standards and recommendations for changes in law, rules, and policy to support the care of elderly person and prevent elder abuse deaths. FSLA opposed provisions of this bill.
Additional bills of interest to senior living providers are available here.