Constitution Revision Commission, Declaration of Rights Committee Meeting Testimony

On Thursday, January 11, 2018, AmSA Executive Director, Conwell Hooper, testified in Tallahassee, FL at the Constitution Revision Committee Declaration of Rights committee, in opposition to Proposal 88.

My name is Conwell Hooper, Executive Director of American Senior Alliance. We are a non profit organization headquartered in Atlanta, GA and we're covering legislative and regulatory issues for senior citizens in 6 southeastern states, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. 

We provide information and advocacy for seniors and families, including those in nursing homes, assisted living and our caregivers. We take great pride looking out for proposals that impact the stability of our nation’s long term care sector.  We have serious concerns that proposal 88 would threaten access to quality nursing home care in Florida.

We agree that it is vital to protect the legal rights of senior citizens. We believe the Florida Legislature and the United States Congress have ensured those rights in both state and federal law. Those laws are used by state surveyors, the local ombudsman and others to ensure nursing home care is resident-focused and promotes resident dignity and quality of life.

It is equally important to ensure seniors and their families can count on quality, affordable and dependable services when they are no longer able to manage their care on their own.

It appears to us that this proposal outlines more ways to sue nursing homes than ensure residents have access to the care and services they need. Adding those provisions to Florida’s Constitution is not only alarming, but also counterproductive to what is best for a state that has made significant strides in improving nursing home care over the last decade.

Today, almost 80 percent of nursing homes have a four or five-star rating from the federal government.

Florida leads the country – with 1 out of every 3 nursing homes earning a Baldridge-based National Quality Award from the American Health Care Association.

Florida has the nation’s highest share of seniors and we are working to ensure they receive the care they deserve. As our seniors age, we need nursing homes to continue providing quality care at a level that is among the nation's best.

Lawsuits drive up costs for doing business.  Lawsuits will drive up costs on residents and divert financial resources away from facilities’ ability to make improvements to meet consumer demand. Nursing home residents are far better off when facilities have enough resources to provide important services or make improvements that will enhance quality of life.

I ask that you vote no on Proposal 88.


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