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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XXIX
PUBLIC HEALTH
Chapter 400
NURSING HOMES AND RELATED HEALTH CARE FACILITIES
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F.S. 400.9981
400.9981 Property and personal affairs of clients.
(1) A client shall be given the option of using his or her own belongings, as space permits; choosing a roommate if practical and not clinically contraindicated; and, whenever possible, unless the client is adjudicated incompetent or incapacitated under state law, managing his or her own affairs.
(2) The admission of a client to a facility and his or her presence therein does not confer on a licensee or administrator, or an employee or representative thereof, any authority to manage, use, or dispose of the property of the client, and the admission or presence of a client does not confer on such person any authority or responsibility for the personal affairs of the client except that which may be necessary for the safe management of the facility or for the safety of the client.
(3) A licensee or administrator, or an employee or representative thereof, may:
(a) Not act as the guardian, trustee, or conservator for a client or a client’s property.
(b) Act as a competent client’s payee for social security, veteran’s, or railroad benefits if the client provides consent and the licensee files a surety bond with the agency in an amount equal to twice the average monthly aggregate income or personal funds due to the client, or expendable for the client’s account, that are received by a licensee.
(c) Act as the attorney in fact for a client if the licensee files a surety bond with the agency in an amount equal to twice the average monthly income of the client, plus the value of a client’s property under the control of the attorney in fact.

The surety bond required under paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) shall be executed by the licensee as principal and a licensed surety company. The bond shall be conditioned upon the faithful compliance of the licensee with the requirements of licensure and is payable to the agency for the benefit of a client who suffers a financial loss as a result of the misuse or misappropriation of funds held pursuant to this subsection. A surety company that cancels or does not renew the bond of a licensee shall notify the agency in writing at least 30 days before the action, giving the reason for cancellation or nonrenewal. A licensee or administrator, or an employee or representative thereof, who is granted power of attorney for a client of the facility shall, on a monthly basis, notify the client in writing of any transaction made on behalf of the client pursuant to this subsection, and a copy of the notification given to the client shall be retained in the client’s file and available for agency inspection.

(4) A licensee, with the consent of the client, shall provide for safekeeping in the facility of the client’s personal effects of a value not in excess of $1,000 and the client’s funds not in excess of $500 cash and shall keep complete and accurate records of the funds and personal effects received. If a client is absent from a facility for 24 hours or more, the licensee may provide for safekeeping of the client’s personal effects of a value in excess of $1,000.
(5) Funds or other property belonging to or due to a client or expendable for the client’s account that are received by a licensee shall be regarded as funds held in trust and shall be kept separate from the funds and property of the licensee and other clients or shall be specifically credited to the client. The funds held in trust shall be used or otherwise expended only for the account of the client. At least once every month, except pursuant to an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, the licensee shall furnish the client and, if applicable, the client’s representative with a complete and verified statement of all funds and other property to which this subsection applies, detailing the amount and items received, together with their sources and disposition. The licensee shall furnish the statement annually and upon discharge or transfer of a client. A governmental agency or private charitable agency contributing funds or other property to the account of a client is also entitled to receive a statement monthly and upon the discharge or transfer of the client.
(6)(a) In addition to any damages or civil penalties to which a person is subject, a person who:
1. Intentionally withholds a client’s personal funds, personal property, or personal needs allowance;
2. Demands, beneficially receives, or contracts for payment of all or any part of a client’s personal property or personal needs allowance in satisfaction of the facility rate for supplies and services; or
3. Borrows from or pledges any personal funds of a client, other than the amount agreed to by written contract under s. 429.24,

commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(b) A licensee or administrator, or an employee, or representative thereof, who is granted power of attorney for a client and who misuses or misappropriates funds obtained through this power commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(7) In the event of the death of a client, a licensee shall return all refunds, funds, and property held in trust to the client’s personal representative, if one has been appointed at the time the licensee disburses such funds, or, if not, to the client’s spouse or adult next of kin named in a beneficiary designation form provided by the licensee to the client. If the client does not have a spouse or adult next of kin or such person cannot be located, funds due to be returned to the client shall be placed in an interest-bearing account, and all property held in trust by the licensee shall be safeguarded until such time as the funds and property are disbursed pursuant to the Florida Probate Code. The funds shall be kept separate from the funds and property of the licensee and other clients of the facility. If the funds of the deceased client are not disbursed pursuant to the Florida Probate Code within 2 years after the client’s death, the funds shall be deposited in the Health Care Trust Fund administered by the agency.
(8) The agency, by rule, may clarify terms and specify procedures and documentation necessary to administer the provisions of this section relating to the proper management of clients’ funds and personal property and the execution of surety bonds.
History.s. 1, ch. 2015-25.