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Florida passes legislation for elder abuse fatality review teams

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2020 | Elder Law

People who have elderly family members that are in nursing homes, or other long term care facilities, may have an interest in keeping abreast of the elder laws in Florida. It is important to know how the current laws protect their family members. 

An important change came to Florida law recently that will allow for review teams regarding elder abuse fatalities. The passing of SB 400 is important for Florida, a state that has the largest population of elders in the nation. 

Senate Bill 400 

According to NWF Daily News, Florida unanimously passed Senate Bill 400. Under this legislation, state attorneys could set up “elder abuse fatality review teams.” Per the measure, members of the elder abuse fatality review teams may include members of law enforcement, medical examiners, funeral directors, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration, as well as other institutions. The purpose of these teams is to review closed cases of elder abuse fatalities so that they can make recommendations to help deter future deaths. 

Housing the review teams 

Initially, the Senate bill proposed that the Department of Elder Affairs house the review teams. The House amendment removed that, however, so it is currently unclear which entity will house the teams instead. 

Regardless of which agency will house the review teams, the teams will submit annual reports to the Department of Elder Affairs. These reports will include statistics on all of the reviewed cases. Additionally, the department will have to submit an annual report to the governor, as well as legislative leaders, to summarize the teams’ findings. 

SB400 will also provide immunity from monetary liability, under certain conditions, for review team members.