Today, State Senator Gary Farmer and State Representative Wengay “Newt” Newton joined members of the Florida Alliance of Retired Americans (FARA) to discuss Governor Ron DeSantis’ refusal to disclose the names of nursing home facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases, as well as his potential decision granting immunity to nursing homes during the pandemic, putting the nursing home industry’s interests over the health and safety of elderly and disabled patients
The Miami Herald reported that nursing homes are asking Governor DeSantis to extend immunity provisions to protect them against negligence suits. During the call, the participants emphasized that Governor DeSantis doesn’t have the authority to grant a request made by the Florida Healthcare Association, a powerful nursing home association looking to protect nursing homes against legal claims.
Highlights from the press call:
State Senator Gary Farmer (SD-34):
“The nursing homes already have an obligation to provide care for their patients, whether it is during difficult times or normal times. They should not need liability protection if they are doing their job. The notion of giving immunity to nursing homes is not only outrageous, it is unconstitutional. The power to enact or change laws rests solely with the Legislature, and it cannot be done just by the Governor. We have a transparency problem in our state, and it is critical for us to know the track of the virus to deal with it.”
State Representative Wengay Newton (HD-70):
“We are concerned about this response and we need to keep an eye on it. Our vulnerable population needs to be protected and keep them safe. We need the Governor to be transparent with Florida residents who are waiting to hear about their families and their friends.”
Bill Sauers, President of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans:
“This situation is like a hand grenade waiting to explode. The government is supposed to protect its people. There is too much secrecy around what is happening in nursing homes, and it’s creating a lack of confidence in the people. It is morally wrong that private companies are looking for immunity in a situation where they need to take care of the patients.”
Barbara DeVane, Secretary of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans:
“I am very outraged by the idea that nursing homes can get special protections from liability and accountability. They receive money to take care of not only our elderly, but also the disabled people. We experienced how greedy the industry can be, when my sister had a stroke, we moved her to one nursing home, and they didn’t provide her the care she needed. The laws in our state protect the nursing homes and not our elderly and disabled population.
We need people to raise up and demand that the Governor follow the Constitution. It is ludicrous to try to put nursing homes over patients. The nursing homes and the Governor need to be transparent and be prepared to deal with the pandemic. We need leaders who care about the people, and in November we will remember who helped our elderly and disabled residents.”