Amendments to Florida's Assisted Living Facility Statutes

16 July 2009 Publication
Author(s): Michael A. Okaty

Legal News Alert: Senior Living

On June 24, 2009, Governor Charlie Crist signed into law CS/CS/CS SB 1986, which amended parts of the Health Care Licensing Procedures Act and the Assisted Living Facilities Act, among other things. The changes affect both the application process for licensure and the operation of assisted living facilities. Below is a brief summary of the changes with respect to assisted living facilities.

  • The definition of “change of ownership” has been amended. Change of ownership now means (i) an event in which the licensee sells or otherwise transfers its ownership to a different individual or entity, as evidenced by a change in federal employer identification number, or (ii) an event in which 51 percent or more of the ownership, shares, membership, or controlling interest of a licensee is transferred or assigned (except in the case of a licensee that is publicly traded). The amendment increases the change in interest that triggers a change of ownership from 45 percent to 51 percent. The other alterations to the definition appear to make certain that the definition applies to all licensees, whether corporations or some other legal entity.
  • An applicant or licensee must report any change of information contained in the most recent application for licensure or information related to required insurance or bonds within the earlier of 21 calendar days after the report period or the effective date of the information. This change means that licensees will have an ongoing obligation to notify Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) of any change in their most recent application.
  • Additional grounds for denying an application were added. The application can be denied if the applicant or a person having a controlling interest in the applicant has (i) been convicted of or pled nolo contendere to certain felonies, (ii) been terminated for cause from the Florida Medicaid program, or (iii) been terminated for cause from the federal Medicare program or from any other state Medicaid program.
  • An application for licensure must now contain the name, address, and Social Security number of the administrator and the financial officer.
  • A new window for submitting an application was created. An application must be submitted at least 60 days, but not more than 120 days, before the expiration of the current license or the requested effective date of a new license. Before the change, there was no limit as to how far in advance a licensee could submit an application. The change creates a 120-day limit.
  • A provisional license, which may not exceed 12 months in duration, may now be issued to an applicant applying for a change of ownership.
  • Additional disqualifying offenses for anyone required to undergo background screening are effective October 1, 2009. A person having a controlling interest in or employed by a licensee is not required to submit to rescreening, but if such person has a disqualifying offense, that person may apply for an exemption from the licensing agency before September 30, 2009 and may continue to be employed until the licensing agency renders a decision on the application for exemption.
  • Following an inspection, a deficiency must be corrected within 30 calendar days after the licensee is notified of the inspection results. In addition, AHCA may require the licensee to submit to a plan of correction for deficiencies within 10 calendar days after notification.
  • Violations of the Health Care Licensing Procedures Act are now classified according to the nature of the violation and the gravity of its probable effect on residents: those classifications include isolated, patterned, or widespread.
  • A licensee is required to designate a safety liaison to serve as the primary contact for emergency operations. A licensee providing residential or inpatient services must utilize an online database approved by AHCA to report information regarding the provider’s emergency status, planning, or operations.
  • The Intergenerational Respite Care Assisted Living Facility Pilot Program was repealed.
  • AHCA will now publish a list of licensed assisted living facilities, rather than provide the same to the department’s elder information and referral providers. The requirement that each field office establish a local coordinating workgroup to identify unlicensed facilities was repealed.
  • The definition of elopement for “adverse incident” reporting requirements was amended to mean only an elopement that places the resident at risk of harm or injury.
  • Section 429.29(9), which required that a resident be physically examined if the resident appears to need care beyond that which the facility is licensed to provide, was repealed.

Legal News Alert is part of our ongoing commitment to providing up-to-the-minute information about pressing concerns or industry issues affecting our senior living clients and our colleagues.

Please contact your Foley Senior Living attorney if you have any questions about these topics or want additional information regarding senior living industry matters.

Authors and editors:

Christopher S. Linde
Orlando, Florida

Michael A. Okaty
Orlando, Florida

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