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Home / Articles / Columnists / Legal Advice /  The Elderly Have Rights
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Monday, January 8,2018

The Elderly Have Rights

By Frank J. Morelli, Esq.  
Governor Rick Scott wants a Florida Constitutional Amendment to regulate nursing home and assisted living facility residents.

 

Every 20 years the Constitution Revision Commission conducts a review and proposes changes to the Florida Constitution. For change to occur the proposal must be put on the 2018 statewide ballot and approved by 60 percent of the voters. Some say a Constitutional Amendment is necessary because state legislators have failed to protect nursing home victims. Rights of the elderly do not depend on more legislation.

Currently Florida Statute 381.026 provides patients with a right to know what treatment they can receive, and who is rendering the treatment. Patients have the right to be fully informed and have access to medical records, and have an interpreter. Patients on Medicare have the right to know if the doctor accepts Medicare and will not bill the patient for additional amounts. Patients may refuse treatment, but if they agree to treatment they must follow the treatment plan, pay the bill and follow the rules and regulations affecting patient care and conduct. If the medical provider violates the patient’s rights a fine of up to $25,000 applies. Fines such

as these result in revenue for the government, but they do not compensation victims of bad treatment.

New laws and constitutional amendment are not necessary to protect victims of maltreatment in nursing homes. Victims have the right and should have the right to compensation for pain and suffering and functional disability due to negligent treatment by nursing home facilities. Lawsuits may increase insurance premiums, but they discourage bad treatment which can cause patients to suffer some of the following: malnutrition, dehydration, falls leaving the patient lying on the floor for hours in pain and without assistance, infections, incorrect medicines, prescription interactions, failure to administer required medications, over medicating patients to silence them, low staffing to patient ratios, and employing staff that is incompetent. These and other types of wrongful treatment such as the occasional assault by staff members permit victims to seek legal representation.

In part two of this series I will be discussing the many constitutional amendments that are coming up for consideration in 2018. Read this column each month and stay informed, and have a Happy Herald day!


Frank J. Morelli, Esq. is a retired judge and is currently a Boca Raton trial attorney in personal injury litigation and workers’ compensation claims for the injured. He has 40 years of experience and has been licensed in five states including Florida. You may contact Frank Morelli at 954-500-3733 or fjmor@comcast.net


 

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