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Bad nursing homes benefit from AHCA’s passive-aggressive war on #transparency

Somebody please give Shelisha Coleman a big fat raise.

The Agency for Health Care Administration’s (AHCA) high profile flack works hard duty playing hardball with some of Florida’s best reporters, but makes tens of thousands of dollars less than men paid by taxpayers to tell tall tales about #Transparency.

Coleman had to drop a whopping load of horsefeathers on the Orlando Sentinel last week in a laughable effort to justify AHCA’s unlawful redactions to public records.

Taking up the cause of families who love their grandparents, reporter Kate Santich asked AHCA to explain why inspection reports are being scrubbed of “dates, places and pivotal words” that make it possible to gauge the quality and safety of Florida’s nursing homes.

People who pay attention to Transparency and Accountability (T&A) in Florida had no trouble believing the attorney who told Santich “I’ve been looking at these reports for 20 years, and I know what they used to look like and what they look like now. It has become arbitrary and inconsistent what they redact — but I think it’s all part of a bigger purpose to confuse people and make the reports useless.”

Like a lamb to the slaughter, Coleman was dispatched by her better-paid bosses to tell the Sentinel that state officials are merely trying to “provide additional protection of personal health information” as required by federal privacy laws.

After she stopped laughing, First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen pointed out the holes in the rationalizations, prevarications and passive aggressive sandbagging served up by Coleman to justify AHCA’s “new redaction process.”

That new redaction process is good news for bad nursing homes. We can hope Santich’s story will embarrass the legislature into doing something about it. But don’t bet Grandpa’s life on it.

Written By

Florence Beth Snyder is a Tallahassee-based lawyer and consultant.

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