Long-term care resident group asks Gov. DeSantis to deny blanket immunity for providers

nursing homes
The request comes as some seek immunity against lawsuits.

The Florida Life Care Residents Association, a resident-led association of 14,00 members concerned with the quality of life in retirement communities, penned a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday requesting blanket immunity not be extended to long-term care providers.

The letter comes as calls for immunity for long-term care facilities — including nursing homes — have grown louder from facilities with the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Granting blanket immunity to long-term care providers in the midst of an ongoing crisis, would not be a prudent decision,” wrote Diane Dalsimer, president of the Florida Life Care Residents Association. “No changes to current cause of action provisions should be adopted until there is adequate time for policymakers to assess the full extent of information related to COVID-19’s impact on Florida’s long-term care providers and the residents they serve.”

In the letter, Dalsimer added that while her association has empathy for the frontline workers serving some of Florida’s most vulnerable residents, current provisions should remain given the current circumstances.

“There is a delicate balance of resident rights and protection of long-term care providers, the majority of which deliver high levels of care,” Dalsimer wrote. “Nonetheless, FLCRA respectfully asks you as Governor to maintain the current statutory provisions related to nursing home litigation.”

Long-term care facilities have long been under the microscope but now are facing increased vulnerability given the novel coronavirus’s impact on the elderly community.

The facilities, several of which have sent letters to Gov. Ron DeSantis, argue they can better serve their residents without a looming fear of legal action.

In a letter sent by the Florida Healthcare Association on April 9 to DeSantis, FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed requested sovereign immunity for facilities and workers.

“To provide the best possible health outcomes for Floridians, we believe it is imperative that health care facilities and health care professionals are protected from liability that may result from treating individuals with COVID-19 under the conditions associated with this public health emergency,” Emmett wrote.

Emmet concluded the letter urging the Governor for protection.

“This would provide the necessary liability protection to health care professionals and health care facilities to provide services for any individual in the state during the emergency rule without fear of reprisal for providing care to their patients during this difficult time.”

The Florida Health Care Association represents 691 licensed nursing homes that serve roughly 71,000 residents statewide.

As of Wednesday,  the Department of Health has confirmed the deaths of another 31 residents and staff of long-term care facilities. The total number of deaths in connection to those facilities is now 776.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • FairnessCounts

    May 13, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    Gov. DeSantis never called for “blanket” immunity for long term care facilities. What we are talking about is re-opening the economy and the mountain of frivolous lawsuits that will arise from that. Long term care facilities have always had other problems, but even these homes will not last long if some protection against frivolous suits is not given, in light of the pandemic.

    I would hope that the legal profession itself, can come up with some ideas for legislation that would be fair to victims and to the businesses of all kinds.

  • Patti Lynn

    May 13, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Anytime someone sues the Big Political Bankrollers, it is called a “Frivolous Lawsuit.” There are provisions in law for frivolity in the legal process. Let it take its course! Protect PEOPLE!!

  • Anes11

    May 13, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    Protect LTC facilities. There are 100’s of scumbags waiting to jump on the lawsuit bandwagon to collect blood money from the death of an old relative they could care less about.

  • John

    May 14, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Long term care facilities should not have liability protection from government. This is why we have liability insurance. If there is negligence on the part of a corporation, the government has no need to place their thumb on the scale of justice. Doing so covers up deficiencies in LTC and reduces the quality of care instead of improving it.

  • Stanley

    May 14, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    It would be nice if a story leaked that a Florida facility has protected their residents. My mom lives in one that has to date been able to protect their most vulnerable and care intensive residents while containing an outbreak in their lowest level of care unit where residents still roam the community.
    We can do this Public Health stuff in the communities best interest with responsible deliberate practice of good public health stuff.
    Not Rocket science. Not a secret. Not a scandal?

Comments are closed.


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