Keep Promises to Nursing Patients
According to a Tampa Tribune article (03/11/08) when the florida legislature passed nursing home reforms in 2001, it promised to protect the care and dignity of nursing home residents. According to the article the state should keep its promise. Times are not so tough that those who live in nursing homes should bear the brunt of state budget cuts. Yet in January 2008 Florida cut 75 million dollars from the Medicaid fund that supports nursing-home care for the poor. Now law makers are considering a 139 million dollar cut. To make matters worse, the article points out that at the same time, the federal Medicare program wants to cut 24 billion dollars from nursing home budgets nationwide. According to nursing home administrators these cuts will have to come out of what's spent on social services, building maintenance and personal care items such as dentures, hearing aids and glasses. However, the Florida health care association pledges not to seek a reduction in state-mandated staffing levels. Currently, Florida requires nursing-home residence (this includes Brevard County) to have at least 2.9 hours of attention from certified nursing-home assistant, in addition to care from a nurse, per day. This staffing standard-the highest in the county was negotiated in return for legislation making it more difficult for residents to make it more difficult to sue nursing homes. Brevard County legislators should stand strong for the most frail and vulnerable among us- those in nursing homes, children in need of protection and the severely developmentally disabled. If our Brevard County legislators cannot do that, Florida doesn't just have a fiscal crisis, it has a moral crisis as well.