Former Florida nursing home ombudsman sues state
Florida's former nursing home ombudsman, who was ousted in February by new Gov. Rick Scott for reportedly clashing with providers, has filed a lawsuit against the state alleging whistleblower retaliation, the Associated Press reported.
Brian Lee filed a civil lawsuit last Thursday against the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and two industry groups alleging retaliatory action against him for doing his job. At the time of his firing, Lee had invoked a transparency provision within the federal health reform law and requested records from all nursing homes on their owners, directors and financial interests.
“Lee is seeking damages of more than $15,000 rather than reinstatement,” the Associated Press reported. “He contends he was told he'd be fired if he didn't resign after representatives of the Florida Health Care Association and Florida Assisted Living Association complained to the department about him and threatened to send letters to Gov. Rick Scott asking that he be replaced.”
Lee’s suit alleges that his firing violated a whistleblower law protecting public employees who report violations of rules and regulations to authorities that oversee nursing homes.