November 21, 2019
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The Florida Statutes

The 2009 Florida Statutes

Title XXX
SOCIAL WELFARE
Chapter 429
ASSISTED CARE COMMUNITIES
View Entire Chapter
Section 429.41, Florida Statutes 2009

429.41  Rules establishing standards.--

(1)  It is the intent of the Legislature that rules published and enforced pursuant to this section shall include criteria by which a reasonable and consistent quality of resident care and quality of life may be ensured and the results of such resident care may be demonstrated. Such rules shall also ensure a safe and sanitary environment that is residential and noninstitutional in design or nature. It is further intended that reasonable efforts be made to accommodate the needs and preferences of residents to enhance the quality of life in a facility. The agency, in consultation with the department, may adopt rules to administer the requirements of part II of chapter 408. In order to provide safe and sanitary facilities and the highest quality of resident care accommodating the needs and preferences of residents, the department, in consultation with the agency, the Department of Children and Family Services, and the Department of Health, shall adopt rules, policies, and procedures to administer this part, which must include reasonable and fair minimum standards in relation to:

(a)  The requirements for and maintenance of facilities, not in conflict with the provisions of chapter 553, relating to plumbing, heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, living space, and other housing conditions, which will ensure the health, safety, and comfort of residents and protection from fire hazard, including adequate provisions for fire alarm and other fire protection suitable to the size of the structure. Uniform firesafety standards shall be established and enforced by the State Fire Marshal in cooperation with the agency, the department, and the Department of Health.

1.  Evacuation capability determination.--

a.  The provisions of the National Fire Protection Association, NFPA 101A, Chapter 5, 1995 edition, shall be used for determining the ability of the residents, with or without staff assistance, to relocate from or within a licensed facility to a point of safety as provided in the fire codes adopted herein. An evacuation capability evaluation for initial licensure shall be conducted within 6 months after the date of licensure. For existing licensed facilities that are not equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system, the administrator shall evaluate the evacuation capability of residents at least annually. The evacuation capability evaluation for each facility not equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system shall be validated, without liability, by the State Fire Marshal, by the local fire marshal, or by the local authority having jurisdiction over firesafety, before the license renewal date. If the State Fire Marshal, local fire marshal, or local authority having jurisdiction over firesafety has reason to believe that the evacuation capability of a facility as reported by the administrator may have changed, it may, with assistance from the facility administrator, reevaluate the evacuation capability through timed exiting drills. Translation of timed fire exiting drills to evacuation capability may be determined:

(I)  Three minutes or less: prompt.

(II)  More than 3 minutes, but not more than 13 minutes: slow.

(III)  More than 13 minutes: impractical.

b.  The Office of the State Fire Marshal shall provide or cause the provision of training and education on the proper application of Chapter 5, NFPA 101A, 1995 edition, to its employees, to staff of the Agency for Health Care Administration who are responsible for regulating facilities under this part, and to local governmental inspectors. The Office of the State Fire Marshal shall provide or cause the provision of this training within its existing budget, but may charge a fee for this training to offset its costs. The initial training must be delivered within 6 months after July 1, 1995, and as needed thereafter.

c.  The Office of the State Fire Marshal, in cooperation with provider associations, shall provide or cause the provision of a training program designed to inform facility operators on how to properly review bid documents relating to the installation of automatic fire sprinklers. The Office of the State Fire Marshal shall provide or cause the provision of this training within its existing budget, but may charge a fee for this training to offset its costs. The initial training must be delivered within 6 months after July 1, 1995, and as needed thereafter.

d.  The administrator of a licensed facility shall sign an affidavit verifying the number of residents occupying the facility at the time of the evacuation capability evaluation.

2.  Firesafety requirements.--

a.  Except for the special applications provided herein, effective January 1, 1996, the provisions of the National Fire Protection Association, Life Safety Code, NFPA 101, 1994 edition, Chapter 22 for new facilities and Chapter 23 for existing facilities shall be the uniform fire code applied by the State Fire Marshal for assisted living facilities, pursuant to s. 633.022.

b.  Any new facility, regardless of size, that applies for a license on or after January 1, 1996, must be equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system. The exceptions as provided in s. 22-2.3.5.1, NFPA 101, 1994 edition, as adopted herein, apply to any new facility housing eight or fewer residents. On July 1, 1995, local governmental entities responsible for the issuance of permits for construction shall inform, without liability, any facility whose permit for construction is obtained prior to January 1, 1996, of this automatic fire sprinkler requirement. As used in this part, the term "a new facility" does not mean an existing facility that has undergone change of ownership.

c.  Notwithstanding any provision of s. 633.022 or of the National Fire Protection Association, NFPA 101A, Chapter 5, 1995 edition, to the contrary, any existing facility housing eight or fewer residents is not required to install an automatic fire sprinkler system, nor to comply with any other requirement in Chapter 23, NFPA 101, 1994 edition, that exceeds the firesafety requirements of NFPA 101, 1988 edition, that applies to this size facility, unless the facility has been classified as impractical to evacuate. Any existing facility housing eight or fewer residents that is classified as impractical to evacuate must install an automatic fire sprinkler system within the timeframes granted in this section.

d.  Any existing facility that is required to install an automatic fire sprinkler system under this paragraph need not meet other firesafety requirements of Chapter 23, NFPA 101, 1994 edition, which exceed the provisions of NFPA 101, 1988 edition. The mandate contained in this paragraph which requires certain facilities to install an automatic fire sprinkler system supersedes any other requirement.

e.  This paragraph does not supersede the exceptions granted in NFPA 101, 1988 edition or 1994 edition.

f.  This paragraph does not exempt facilities from other firesafety provisions adopted under s. 633.022 and local building code requirements in effect before July 1, 1995.

g.  A local government may charge fees only in an amount not to exceed the actual expenses incurred by local government relating to the installation and maintenance of an automatic fire sprinkler system in an existing and properly licensed assisted living facility structure as of January 1, 1996.

h.  If a licensed facility undergoes major reconstruction or addition to an existing building on or after January 1, 1996, the entire building must be equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system. Major reconstruction of a building means repair or restoration that costs in excess of 50 percent of the value of the building as reported on the tax rolls, excluding land, before reconstruction. Multiple reconstruction projects within a 5-year period the total costs of which exceed 50 percent of the initial value of the building at the time the first reconstruction project was permitted are to be considered as major reconstruction. Application for a permit for an automatic fire sprinkler system is required upon application for a permit for a reconstruction project that creates costs that go over the 50-percent threshold.

i.  Any facility licensed before January 1, 1996, that is required to install an automatic fire sprinkler system shall ensure that the installation is completed within the following timeframes based upon evacuation capability of the facility as determined under subparagraph 1.:

(I)  Impractical evacuation capability, 24 months.

(II)  Slow evacuation capability, 48 months.

(III)  Prompt evacuation capability, 60 months.

The beginning date from which the deadline for the automatic fire sprinkler installation requirement must be calculated is upon receipt of written notice from the local fire official that an automatic fire sprinkler system must be installed. The local fire official shall send a copy of the document indicating the requirement of a fire sprinkler system to the Agency for Health Care Administration.

j.  It is recognized that the installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system may create financial hardship for some facilities. The appropriate local fire official shall, without liability, grant two 1-year extensions to the timeframes for installation established herein, if an automatic fire sprinkler installation cost estimate and proof of denial from two financial institutions for a construction loan to install the automatic fire sprinkler system are submitted. However, for any facility with a class I or class II, or a history of uncorrected class III, firesafety deficiencies, an extension must not be granted. The local fire official shall send a copy of the document granting the time extension to the Agency for Health Care Administration.

k.  A facility owner whose facility is required to be equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system under Chapter 23, NFPA 101, 1994 edition, as adopted herein, must disclose to any potential buyer of the facility that an installation of an automatic fire sprinkler requirement exists. The sale of the facility does not alter the timeframe for the installation of the automatic fire sprinkler system.

l.  Existing facilities required to install an automatic fire sprinkler system as a result of construction-type restrictions in Chapter 23, NFPA 101, 1994 edition, as adopted herein, or evacuation capability requirements shall be notified by the local fire official in writing of the automatic fire sprinkler requirement, as well as the appropriate date for final compliance as provided in this subparagraph. The local fire official shall send a copy of the document to the Agency for Health Care Administration.

m.  Except in cases of life-threatening fire hazards, if an existing facility experiences a change in the evacuation capability, or if the local authority having jurisdiction identifies a construction-type restriction, such that an automatic fire sprinkler system is required, it shall be afforded time for installation as provided in this subparagraph.

Facilities that are fully sprinkled and in compliance with other firesafety standards are not required to conduct more than one of the required fire drills between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., per year. In lieu of the remaining drills, staff responsible for residents during such hours may be required to participate in a mock drill that includes a review of evacuation procedures. Such standards must be included or referenced in the rules adopted by the State Fire Marshal. Pursuant to s. 633.022(1)(b), the State Fire Marshal is the final administrative authority for firesafety standards established and enforced pursuant to this section. All licensed facilities must have an annual fire inspection conducted by the local fire marshal or authority having jurisdiction.

3.  Resident elopement requirements.--Facilities are required to conduct a minimum of two resident elopement prevention and response drills per year. All administrators and direct care staff must participate in the drills which shall include a review of procedures to address resident elopement. Facilities must document the implementation of the drills and ensure that the drills are conducted in a manner consistent with the facility's resident elopement policies and procedures.

(b)  The preparation and annual update of a comprehensive emergency management plan. Such standards must be included in the rules adopted by the department after consultation with the Department of Community Affairs. At a minimum, the rules must provide for plan components that address emergency evacuation transportation; adequate sheltering arrangements; postdisaster activities, including provision of emergency power, food, and water; postdisaster transportation; supplies; staffing; emergency equipment; individual identification of residents and transfer of records; communication with families; and responses to family inquiries. The comprehensive emergency management plan is subject to review and approval by the local emergency management agency. During its review, the local emergency management agency shall ensure that the following agencies, at a minimum, are given the opportunity to review the plan: the Department of Elderly Affairs, the Department of Health, the Agency for Health Care Administration, and the Department of Community Affairs. Also, appropriate volunteer organizations must be given the opportunity to review the plan. The local emergency management agency shall complete its review within 60 days and either approve the plan or advise the facility of necessary revisions.

(c)  The number, training, and qualifications of all personnel having responsibility for the care of residents. The rules must require adequate staff to provide for the safety of all residents. Facilities licensed for 17 or more residents are required to maintain an alert staff for 24 hours per day.

(d)  All sanitary conditions within the facility and its surroundings which will ensure the health and comfort of residents. The rules must clearly delineate the responsibilities of the agency's licensure and survey staff, the county health departments, and the local authority having jurisdiction over firesafety and ensure that inspections are not duplicative. The agency may collect fees for food service inspections conducted by the county health departments and transfer such fees to the Department of Health.

(e)  License application and license renewal, transfer of ownership, proper management of resident funds and personal property, surety bonds, resident contracts, refund policies, financial ability to operate, and facility and staff records.

(f)  Inspections, complaint investigations, moratoriums, classification of deficiencies, levying and enforcement of penalties, and use of income from fees and fines.

(g)  The enforcement of the resident bill of rights specified in s. 429.28.

(h)  The care and maintenance of residents, which must include, but is not limited to:

1.  The supervision of residents;

2.  The provision of personal services;

3.  The provision of, or arrangement for, social and leisure activities;

4.  The arrangement for appointments and transportation to appropriate medical, dental, nursing, or mental health services, as needed by residents;

5.  The management of medication;

6.  The nutritional needs of residents;

7.  Resident records; and

8.  Internal risk management and quality assurance.

(i)  Facilities holding a limited nursing, extended congregate care, or limited mental health license.

(j)  The establishment of specific criteria to define appropriateness of resident admission and continued residency in a facility holding a standard, limited nursing, extended congregate care, and limited mental health license.

(k)  The use of physical or chemical restraints. The use of physical restraints is limited to half-bed rails as prescribed and documented by the resident's physician with the consent of the resident or, if applicable, the resident's representative or designee or the resident's surrogate, guardian, or attorney in fact. The use of chemical restraints is limited to prescribed dosages of medications authorized by the resident's physician and must be consistent with the resident's diagnosis. Residents who are receiving medications that can serve as chemical restraints must be evaluated by their physician at least annually to assess:

1.  The continued need for the medication.

2.  The level of the medication in the resident's blood.

3.  The need for adjustments in the prescription.

(l)  The establishment of specific policies and procedures on resident elopement. Facilities shall conduct a minimum of two resident elopement drills each year. All administrators and direct care staff shall participate in the drills. Facilities shall document the drills.

(2)  In adopting any rules pursuant to this part, the department, in conjunction with the agency, shall make distinct standards for facilities based upon facility size; the types of care provided; the physical and mental capabilities and needs of residents; the type, frequency, and amount of services and care offered; and the staffing characteristics of the facility. Rules developed pursuant to this section shall not restrict the use of shared staffing and shared programming in facilities that are part of retirement communities that provide multiple levels of care and otherwise meet the requirements of law and rule. Except for uniform firesafety standards, the department shall adopt by rule separate and distinct standards for facilities with 16 or fewer beds and for facilities with 17 or more beds. The standards for facilities with 16 or fewer beds shall be appropriate for a noninstitutional residential environment, provided that the structure is no more than two stories in height and all persons who cannot exit the facility unassisted in an emergency reside on the first floor. The department, in conjunction with the agency, may make other distinctions among types of facilities as necessary to enforce the provisions of this part. Where appropriate, the agency shall offer alternate solutions for complying with established standards, based on distinctions made by the department and the agency relative to the physical characteristics of facilities and the types of care offered therein.

(3)  The department shall submit a copy of proposed rules to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, and appropriate committees of substance for review and comment prior to the promulgation thereof. Rules promulgated by the department shall encourage the development of homelike facilities which promote the dignity, individuality, personal strengths, and decisionmaking ability of residents.

(4)  The agency, in consultation with the department, may waive rules promulgated pursuant to this part in order to demonstrate and evaluate innovative or cost-effective congregate care alternatives which enable individuals to age in place. Such waivers may be granted only in instances where there is reasonable assurance that the health, safety, or welfare of residents will not be endangered. To apply for a waiver, the licensee shall submit to the agency a written description of the concept to be demonstrated, including goals, objectives, and anticipated benefits; the number and types of residents who will be affected, if applicable; a brief description of how the demonstration will be evaluated; and any other information deemed appropriate by the agency. Any facility granted a waiver shall submit a report of findings to the agency and the department within 12 months. At such time, the agency may renew or revoke the waiver or pursue any regulatory or statutory changes necessary to allow other facilities to adopt the same practices. The department may by rule clarify terms and establish waiver application procedures, criteria for reviewing waiver proposals, and procedures for reporting findings, as necessary to implement this subsection.

(5)  The agency may use an abbreviated biennial standard licensure inspection that consists of a review of key quality-of-care standards in lieu of a full inspection in facilities which have a good record of past performance. However, a full inspection shall be conducted in facilities which have had a history of class I or class II violations, uncorrected class III violations, confirmed ombudsman council complaints, or confirmed licensure complaints, within the previous licensure period immediately preceding the inspection or when a potentially serious problem is identified during the abbreviated inspection. The agency, in consultation with the department, shall develop the key quality-of-care standards with input from the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council and representatives of provider groups for incorporation into its rules. The department, in consultation with the agency, shall report annually to the Legislature concerning its implementation of this subsection. The report shall include, at a minimum, the key quality-of-care standards which have been developed; the number of facilities identified as being eligible for the abbreviated inspection; the number of facilities which have received the abbreviated inspection and, of those, the number that were converted to full inspection; the number and type of subsequent complaints received by the agency or department on facilities which have had abbreviated inspections; any recommendations for modification to this subsection; any plans by the agency to modify its implementation of this subsection; and any other information which the department believes should be reported.

History.--s. 16, ch. 75-233; ss. 12, 29, ch. 80-198; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 59, 79, 83, ch. 83-181; s. 7, ch. 85-145; s. 1, ch. 86-87; s. 13, ch. 87-371; s. 20, ch. 89-294; s. 22, ch. 91-263; s. 25, ch. 93-177; s. 26, ch. 93-211; ss. 28, 38, 39, ch. 93-216; ss. 12, 20, 52, ch. 95-418; s. 27, ch. 97-100; s. 99, ch. 97-101; s. 5, ch. 98-148; s. 15, ch. 99-332; s. 47, ch. 2001-45; s. 7, ch. 2004-298; s. 2, ch. 2004-386; ss. 2, 55, ch. 2006-197; s. 157, ch. 2007-230.

Note.--Former s. 400.441.

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