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Council Pushes Back Against Reports Of Turmoil In LongTerm Care Program

An advisory panel for the Department of Elder Affairs is pushing back against critics of the state’s long-term care ombudsman panel. 

In a conference call Thursday, the agency’s advisory council decried recent media reports suggesting the departure of longterm care ombudsman Jim Crochet may have been politically influenced. Council member Bill Edelstein put the blame on another former ombudsman--Brian Lee for leaking misinformation:

“What I found particularly irritating where the comments that the Council was in the pocket of the industry or comments to that effect, and I don’t think that’s nearly...that’s just not factual, Edelstein said.

Lee served as state’s longterm care ombudsman under both Governor’s Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist, until  Governor Rick Scott removed him from office. Lee has maintained his outer was due to him being tough on the longterm care industry. Officials placed Lee’s replacement, Crochet, on administrative leave last month amid an investigation by the Department of Elder Affairs. The dustup comes as the state continues its efforts to move low-income seniors and others in longterm care facilities into Medicaid Managed Care. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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