CLEARWATER, Fla. — Florida lawmakers took the first steps Monday to close the licensing loophole we brought to their attention last month.
10Investigates exposed a certified nursing assistant, or CNA, was able to work from place, to place, to place after being accused of inappropriately touching patients at numerous health care facilities in Pinellas County.
He also continued to work after pleading no-contest to battery on a patient while he was a CNA at a local hospital.
Representative Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, added an amendment to the Florida House of Representative's health care bill late Sunday night.
That amendment was heard Monday in the House Health and Human Services committee. The new law would flag any employee during the screening process if that person has been arrested or is awaiting final disposition.
WATCH THE INVESTIGATION: He was accused of inappropriately touching patients at nursing homes, but he continued to work
The new legislation would also make the battery of any patient in a licensed facility an offense that would lead to the loss of the license.
Sprowls' statement reads:
"I want to thank 10 News for discovering this loophole and HHS Chairman Ray Rodrigues for acting so quickly to close it. Government’s primary obligation is to protect its citizens from criminals and predators. Our seniors or anyone vulnerable or incapacitated in a nursing home should not have to live in fear of or suffer the indignity of being abused.
"Today, the Florida House took a major step toward by strengthening the protections afford to all patients and residents in our hospitals, nursing homes and other licensed facilities."
The bill cleared its final committee and will now be heard on the House floor.
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