Recently, several state legislative and regulatory proposals were advanced which could have an impact on assisted living facilities in Florida. The Assisted Living Facility (“ALF”) Workgroup for Legislation, chaired by Larry Polivka at the Claude Pepper Center at Florida State University, issued its legislative recommendations in December, 2014.  The group expressed concern over Florida’s increasing adult population and a corresponding increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in elderly persons, without any updating in the regulatory framework which governs assisted living facilities.  Residents of assisted living facilities are encouraged to age in place but the facilities are not licensed to deal with the increasing medical needs of these residents.

Recommendations from the Workgroup include raising the standards for individuals becoming licensed ALF administrators; expediting the resident discharge appeal process; improving discharge documentation and hospital accountability in order to ensure the appropriateness of ALF admissions, including a requirement that hospitals document consideration of an individual’s choice in discharge placement; revising the data and frequency with which ALFs are required to report to the Agency for Health Care Administration; requiring a limited mental health license for a facility that has any mental health residents (now only required if there are three or more mental health residents); and mandating stronger enforcement powers for the Agency.

In addition, the assisted living industry is watching what is happening in California as that state deals with new and more stringent licensing, training, inspection and public reporting requirements. We will be monitoring the activities of the Florida Legislature as it heads into session, as well as any proposed regulations issued by the Agency for Health Care Administration.