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Senate President Jim King and House Speaker Johnnie Byrd Announce Joint Select Committee on Nursing Homes

December 16, 2002
The Florida House of Representatives and The Florida Senate

Senate President Jim King, along with House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, today announced the Joint Select Committee on Nursing Homes designed to address the continuing crisis facing Florida 's nursing homes in both obtaining and maintaining adequate insurance coverage.

Senator Lisa Carlton (R-Osprey) will serve as chair of the joint select committee, with Representative Carole Green (R-Fort Myers) serving as vice-chair. Other members appointed to serve include: Senator Durell Peaden (R-Crestview), Senator Burt Saunders (R-Naples), Senator Dennis Jones (R-Seminole), Senator Walter "Skip" Campbell (D-Tamarac), Senator Gwen Margolis (D-Miami Beach), Representative Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach), Representative Marty Bowen (R-Winter Haven), Representative Ron Greenstein (D-Coconut Creek), Representative Hank Harper (D-West Palm Beach), and Representative Dave Murzin (R-Pensacola).

"The simple truth is that legislation recently passed by the Legislature has not attracted insurance companies back into the arena of writing nursing home liability coverage and we face the distinct possibility of losing federal funds if sufficient liability coverage is not made available," said Senate President Jim King. "Speaker Byrd and I created this committee to re-evaluate the data previously collected, evaluate new and different remedies, and make recommendations to the Legislature regarding its conclusions."

"Even though there are some who say we haven't given the previously passed legislation a chance to prove itself, we feel that with the number of frail residents in need of long-term care expected to grow dramatically we must do something to help bring this issue to fruition in a more timely manner. By 2020, Florida will be experiencing the full effect of the aging of its 'baby boomer' residents, with an estimated 97 percent growth in the population over the age of 85," continued King.

"We need to ensure that Florida seniors continue to have the option of safe and affordable nursing homes if they need them," said Speaker Johnnie Byrd. "Making sure that nursing homes can obtain affordable insurance coverage and keep their doors open is an important step in protecting Florida 's nursing home residents."

"I am hopeful that this new select committee will be able to balance circumstances within the insurance industry, the legal profession, the residents of nursing homes, the physicians treating them and their staff," added Byrd. "This issue is of great importance to countless Floridians and I know the members of this committee will work diligently and with the best interest of our elderly residents at heart."