Patients beware! Many hospitals and skilled nursing facilities are stepping aside when it comes to care management and discharge planning ,and leaving it up to outside agencies that accept referral fees. In the State of Florida, it was illegal for facilities and home care to PAY a REFERRAL Fee. The STARK Law was lifted a few years ago and the patients rights are being trampled on!

Patients and their family members trust their hospital discharge planners to be unbiased in their resources. When a 3rd party receiving referral fees steps in, all of that goes to the way side.

I have had clients who were literally told they could not move to a particular assisted living, because they "needed more care than that facility could provide" and they were moved 30 miles from their home. The same has happened when they ask to go home with care.They have been told "NO".

Patients have the right to choose! No one has the right to make decisions for them, unless they are under full guardianship!

I have been told by the owner of one such referral agency that she could care less if it is the right placement, if it is not, she "will move them again and collect another fee!"

This is outrageous and needs to be addressed!

I know this is new to Florida, but other states are rampant with referral agencies.

Please share some of your experiences and regulations that may have been put in place to have this stopped.

If you need assistance navigating the maze of healthcare, you should pay for the guidance. Contact a local care manager! When a client is paying for services, the client gets a personalized plan of care that is only for them. There is no one size fits all!

When people ask me, "name the top three assisted living communities in our area", I simply say, "There is no such thing. Each person is individual and time needs to be spent finding out what is important to that person and how they want to live." We can not project our own feeling, thoughts or biases on our seniors. They have lived a long life and deserve to live the way they want to live with the safety measures in place to do so.

Simple lesson, we all know - Free is NEVER FREE!

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