Proposed Republican Legislation Removes Protections for Unmarried or Widowed Nursing Home Residents Who Die

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By Giselle Balido

April 5, 2023

The bill adds fuel to Florida’s problematic history with nursing homes, one that has been long riddled with allegations of abuse and neglect. 

A new bill would make it harder to sue Florida nursing homes and other long-term care facilities after the death of a resident. The proposed Republican legislation would also offer immunity to nursing homes when they wrongfully kill unmarried residents.

The reason House Bill 1029 and its companion, Senate Bill 1304, are raising alarms is because they require a living spouse, or a child under the age of 25, to maintain a nursing home wrongful death claim. This provides immunity to Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities when a patient who does not have a living spouse dies. Most nursing home residents are widowed or unmarried, and none have children younger than twenty-five.

RELATED: GOP Plans Could Include Deep Cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act

A Long, Troubled History

The bill only adds to Florida’s problematic history with nursing homes, one riddled with allegations of abuse and neglect. Between 2013 – 2017, for example, the Florida Department of Children and Families revealed that 54 nursing home deaths were due to nursing home neglect or mistreatment. 

Since then, the problem has only grown worse, as serious state-issued violations in Florida’s nursing homes have nearly doubled since 2019, according to a February 2023 investigation by the Tampa Bay Times. Nursing home owners have been routinely accused of intentional understaffing, widespread neglect of residents, and substandard care, among other violations. 

A Danger to Older Floridians

For this reason, The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, a senior-rights non-profit advocacy group, sent a letter to Florida’s lawmakers opposing HB 1029 and S 1304, and urging Floridians to express their opposition to the bills to their legislators.

“There is no other state law that resembles this proposal,” the organization wrote. “This law is a transparent hand-out to the for-profit nursing home lobby that will result in increased negative outcomes for residents at Florida long-term care facilities.”


  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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