Florida voters: ‘Modernize’ nursing home staffing rules

Nearly 60% said they would be more likely to vote for a lawmaker who supports the plan.

Nearly four in five Florida voters want lawmakers to pass a bill that would change staffing requirements at nursing homes, a new poll found.

The McLaughlin & Associates poll asked 500 likely General Election voters who live in battleground state House districts whether lawmakers should approve a proposal that would change the 20-year-old rules regulating care hours at facilities.

A plan currently moving through the House, HB 1239 by Naples Republican Rep. Lauren Melo, would allow staff without nursing degrees to fulfill a portion of direct care hour requirements.

Proponents of the bill describe it as a necessary modernization of current regulations and assert it would provide nursing home residents with more personalized care, including physical rehabilitation, mental health services, spiritual services, counseling and other treatments.

The poll found 78% of voters agree, including 55% who said they “strongly favor” the proposal.

The proposal enjoys support among voters of all parties. It is backed by 80% of Democrats, 79% of Republicans and 74% of non-party-affiliated voters. By age, seniors are most likely to favor this proposal, at 86%. It also registered 82% support among women and 73% support among men.

Only 9% of those polled said they opposed the changes while 13% said they were unsure.

When asked why they support the plan, 35% said it would “provide better care” while 24% said nursing homes were “currently understaffed.”

The issue could be a deciding factor in who wins in the battleground districts those voters live in, as nearly 60% of voters said they would be “more likely” to vote for a candidate who supports the proposal. Only 6% said they would be less likely to support such a candidate.

The McLaughlin & Associates survey was conducted Dec. 20-22. It polled voters in 19 Republican-held battleground districts and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

The polled districts include HD 15, HD 21, HD 26, HD 28, HD 29, HD 50, HD 60, HD 67, HD 69, HD 72, HD 84, HD 89, HD 93, HD 103, HD 105, HD 114, HD 115, HD 118 and HD 120.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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