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Nursing Home proposal may appear on 2018 ballot

1-28-2018 - Proposal 88, "A Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility Bill of Rights" is currently under consideration by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. If approved by 22 of the CRC's 37 members, it will appear on the November 6, 2018 ballot. If passed by 60% of voters, it will become law and enshrined in the Florida Consitutition. The proposal was initiated in part by the 14 deaths that occurred at a Hollywood nursing home when the power failed during Hurricane Irma.The CRC meets every 20 years to consider possible changes to the state Constitution.

Proposal 88 seeks to ensure that nursing home residents enjoy all the rights of other citizens, and have a safe and comfortable environment. Toward that end, it would give nursing home residents and families access to the courts and juries to seek redress for injuries a resident suffers as a result of exploitation, neglect, abuse, etc. 

Currently, most nursing home admissions agreements include a pre-arbitration clause. When this clause is signed, the resident and family forfeit the right to bring a lawsuit against the facility, agreeing instead to arbitration. Proposal 88 would guarantee the right to sue the facility. It would also require facilities to carry sufficient insurance to cover any such claims.

The Florida Health Care Association opposes the proposal, noting that refusing to sign a pre-arbitration clause does not prohibit admission to a facility. It argues that arbitration is cost-effective and fair for residents, families and facilities, and that doing away with pre-arbitration clauses will encourage predatory lawsuits.

Advocates of the proposal note that when admitting a family member to a facility, families often do not underestand what they are signing. One of the sponsors of the proposal, Brecht Leuchan, has said: “When you’re trying to find a nursing home bed, you’re handed a stack of documents that’s 50, 70, 80, 100 pages long, and buried in those documents are these arbitration clauses. The very nature of those clauses is signing away of your right to a court.”

Read The Karp Law Firm's advice on signing nursing home admissions agreements here

Read the text of Proposal 88 here

Find out how to provide your input on the proposal to the Constitution Revision Commission here. 

Read more about the Consititution Revision Commission here.

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