State health care regulators on Thursday ordered a Hardee County rehabilitation facility to provide plans within 10 days to move more than half of its patients to other facilities and to establish long-term exit strategies for the patients that remain. The company plans to appeal.
The Agency for Health Care Administration released findings in an investigation conducted in early August of Florida Institute for Neurological Rehabilitation, Inc., a Wauchula-based facility for people with traumatic spinal cord and head injuries. Investigators determined 50 of 98 patients at the facility did not appear to have such injuries, a criterion for admission. Further, the facility failed to provide documentation showing exit plans for the remaining 48 patients as required, the agency said in a four-page report. The facility has come under intense scrutiny in recent months following the publicized deaths and alleged abuse of patients in its care. Connecticut officials have stopped referring patients to the 196-bed facility located near Tampa. FINR executives have denied the charges, saying the facility has a zero-tolerance policy against patient abuse. “Upon further review, and in consultation with our attorneys, FINR will be appealing the decision released earlier today by AHCA to remove 50 patients from our facility,” the company said in a statement. “Our legal counsel believes that the state does not have the authority, and is not adhering to current statute, relating to the decision to remove a select few patients from our facility.”
Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.