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Florida Not Monitoring Nursing Homes

A report published in the Miami Herald on Sunday reveals that the Florida Health Care Administration has failed to properly monitor nursing homes.

The newspaper reported several incidents involving residents dying at poorly run assisted-living facilities throughout the state. In one case, a 74-year-old man died after being given a bath in scalding water, and in another a resident suffering from Alzheimer's was attacked and killed by an alligator after wandering away from the nursing home.

These and other complaints of abuse were not investigated properly, the newspaper said. Of 70 cases that warranted closure of a nursing home, only seven were actually shut down.

That means that residents at Florida's 2,850 assisted-living facilities are at risk of abuse and neglect. In fact, deaths resulting from abuse and neglect occur on average once a month.

Despite the fact that the number of inspections conducted by the Health Care Administration dropped by 90 percent in the six years prior to 2008, Florida lengthened the period of time between inspections to a full two years.