Profit before Children: Health and Well-Being of Medically Fragile Children & Young Adults at Risk in Geriatric Nursing Homes

Source: Florida Association for Medically Fragile Children, White Paper, 2012

From the press release:
[This] details how the state of Florida and geriatric nursing homes are violating federal law and putting the lives of medically fragile children and young adults at risk. Major revelations in “Profit before Children” detail the crisis:
1. The number of seniors in Florida nursing homes is decreasing. So, owners of geriatric facilities are competing to fill their beds with medically fragile children simply
to remain profitable, but they are not equipped to do so.
2. Florida may be violating federal law by not providing services guaranteed all children receiving Medicaid under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Program.
3. Possibly violating federal law, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), Children’s Medical Services, physicians, and hospitals are referring children
directly to geriatric nursing homes without proper developmental testing or the legally mandated presentation of other options.
4. Geriatric nursing homes are lobbying the Florida Legislature to approve reduced levels of care that violate federal law. Their current staffing regulations are
already inadequate to care for medically fragile children. Under proposed bills (SB 482, SB1884, HB 621, & HB 1419), they want to further reduce staffing requirements to dangerous levels.
5. An up-to-date, statewide, reliable needs assessment of the population of medically fragile children and young adults has not been done in Florida. So, geriatric
facilities cannot ethically be granted a certificate of need.
6. Geriatric nursing homes cannot properly assess the treatment needs of medically fragile children and young adults. Assessments and care plans administered in
long-term, geriatric facilities are standardized for people over 65, but they ignore the special needs of medically fragile children and young adults.
7. Monitoring systems in geriatric facilities have been designed for individuals over 65 who can press a call button for assistance. Medically fragile children and young
adults cannot possibly operate them, which could put their lives at risk.

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