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Task Force Drafting Reopening Plan For Nursing Homes; Meets Again Wednesday

Florida’s Task Force on the Safe and Limited Reopening of Long Term Care Facilities is one step closer to presenting Governor DeSantis with its recommendations to allow visitors back inside nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


What You Need To Know

  • The task force met for the second time in less than a week.
  • Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Mary Mayhew has a draft framework for reopening.
  • Next meeting is on Wednesday to continue discussions on areas of disagreement
  • A plan could be presented to Gov. DeSantis as early as next week.

Reopening long term care facilities will likely include the designation of specific family members who are allowed to visit.

Those people would be called “essential care givers.”

Each ECG would be required to have an established record of regular visits prior to the pandemic and would be allowed in for scheduled weekly visits.

Just like staff members, the ECG would have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and be tested for COVID-19.

The idea was first floated by task force member Mary Daniel, the Jacksonville woman who made national headlines when she took a dishwashing job at her husband’s assisted living facility.

Daniel spoke out in today’s meeting when task force members representing the state’s long term care facilities brought up staffing and cost concerns as a reason for ECGs to be a voluntary recommendation for facilities – rather than a mandate.

“We don’t want this to be a business decision,” Daniel said. “It’s time this is a humanitarian decision.”

The group also went over possible requirements for general visitation.

While task force members all agreed outdoor visits are now doable, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees wants to consider making sure facilities are COVID-19 free for 28 days before those visits can happen.

Testing also came up as a key element in screening visitors but once again, the discussion turned to cost concerns.

“It’s more than a business decision, I promise,” Emmett Reed. He’s the executive director of the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA).

“But it’s something we’ve got to discuss up front because once we roll this out, it goes.”

The task force plans to meet again Wednesday to continue working on its recommendations. Mayhew indicated the plan could be ready for the governor as early as next week.​

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