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The Florida Senate

2006 Florida Statutes

Quality assurance; early warning system; monitoring; rapid response teams.
Section 400.118, Florida Statutes 2006

400.118  Quality assurance; early warning system; monitoring; rapid response teams.--

(1)  The agency shall establish an early warning system to detect conditions in nursing facilities that could be detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of residents. The early warning system shall include, but not be limited to, analysis of financial and quality-of-care indicators that would predict the need for the agency to take action pursuant to the authority set forth in this part.

(2)(a)  The agency shall establish within each district office one or more quality-of-care monitors, based on the number of nursing facilities in the district, to monitor all nursing facilities in the district on a regular, unannounced, aperiodic basis, including nights, evenings, weekends, and holidays. Quality-of-care monitors shall visit each nursing facility at least quarterly. Priority for additional monitoring visits shall be given to nursing facilities with a history of resident care deficiencies. Quality-of-care monitors shall be registered nurses who are trained and experienced in nursing facility regulation, standards of practice in long-term care, and evaluation of patient care. Individuals in these positions shall not be deployed by the agency as a part of the district survey team in the conduct of routine, scheduled surveys, but shall function solely and independently as quality-of-care monitors. Quality-of-care monitors shall assess the overall quality of life in the nursing facility and shall assess specific conditions in the facility directly related to resident care, including the operations of internal quality improvement and risk management programs and adverse incident reports. The quality-of-care monitor shall include in an assessment visit observation of the care and services rendered to residents and formal and informal interviews with residents, family members, facility staff, resident guests, volunteers, other regulatory staff, and representatives of a long-term care ombudsman council or Florida advocacy council.

(b)  Findings of a monitoring visit, both positive and negative, shall be provided orally and in writing to the facility administrator or, in the absence of the facility administrator, to the administrator on duty or the director of nursing. The quality-of-care monitor may recommend to the facility administrator procedural and policy changes and staff training, as needed, to improve the care or quality of life of facility residents. Conditions observed by the quality-of-care monitor which threaten the health or safety of a resident shall be reported immediately to the agency area office supervisor for appropriate regulatory action and, as appropriate or as required by law, to law enforcement, adult protective services, or other responsible agencies.

(c)  Any record, whether written or oral, or any written or oral communication generated pursuant to paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil or administrative action against a nursing facility arising out of matters which are the subject of quality-of-care monitoring, and a person who was in attendance at a monitoring visit or evaluation may not be permitted or required to testify in any such civil or administrative action as to any evidence or other matters produced or presented during the monitoring visits or evaluations. However, information, documents, or records otherwise available from original sources are not to be construed as immune from discovery or use in any such civil or administrative action merely because they were presented during monitoring visits or evaluations, and any person who participates in such activities may not be prevented from testifying as to matters within his or her knowledge, but such witness may not be asked about his or her participation in such activities. The exclusion from the discovery or introduction of evidence in any civil or administrative action provided for herein shall not apply when the quality-of-care monitor makes a report to the appropriate authorities regarding a threat to the health or safety of a resident.

(3)  The agency shall also create teams of experts that can function as rapid response teams to visit nursing facilities identified through the agency's early warning system. Rapid response teams may visit facilities that request the agency's assistance. The rapid response teams shall not be deployed for the purpose of helping a facility prepare for a regular survey.

History.--s. 10, ch. 99-394; s. 17, ch. 2000-263; s. 18, ch. 2001-45.