Florida nursing home background checks may include residents

The relatives of a murder victim are lobbying the Florida state legislature to require nursing home residents to undergo background checks.

In 1979, Norma Thomas Page, a Florida mother of two, was brutally beaten and stabbed to death. Thirty years later, Steve Bronson, Jr., was apprehended through DNA evidence and confessed to the crime. This cold case was solved. However, Bronson, 64, had a stroke and suffered from diminished cognition and was released from custody. A 2011 Orlando-Sentinel article reports that Bronson was rejected by 40 nursing homes.

Today, nursing home, residents have to provide a wealth of information including health insurance verification, powers of attorney and Do Not Resuscitate orders. This is not the first attempt to screen residents for past criminal behavior. In 2006, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed into law a bill requiring skilled nursing residents to undergo background checks to identify sex offenders and felons so arrangements can be made for special housing and monitoring

The Florida Health Care Association notes that Florida already has tough laws to protect residents. 

Kay Myers, the victim’s sister, said: “It is not right for the justice system to use nursing homes as a dumping grounds for unwanted violent criminals.

Related article: Should prisoners move into nursing homes?

Topics: Advocacy