DOJ To Fla.: Keep Kids Out Of Nursing Homes Or We'll Sue

Sep 10, 2012

About 250 children who require around-the-clock medical care are being kept illegally and unnecessarily in Florida nursing homes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal government’s accusations mirror what’s been alleged in ongoing lawsuits filed on behalf of the children’s families.

After investigating six nursing homes, the Justice Department is threatening a lawsuit of its own, saying Florida is violating federal law by not ensuring most of the children get home-based medical care. Florida State University Law Professor Paolo Annino and other child advocates have already filed two suits this year.

He says, once kids are institutionalized after an accident, they’re often kept with no plan for release.

“We need to make sure that any child that does enter a nursing home there is a transition plan and the child is evaluated in a meaningful way to determine if the child can live in the community.”

But, regulators at the state Agency for Health Care Administration say they’re doing nothing wrong because parents and doctors decide where children get care.