Posted by NASGA

 

 

 

 

By: Adam Walser

TAMPA, Fla. — Hospitals across the Florida are paying lawyers to go to court to take away patients’ rights, a three-month I-Team investigation uncovered.

I-Team Investigator Adam Walser found hospitals in Orlando, Miami, West Palm Beach, Naples and other Florida cities paying private attorneys to file hundreds of court petitions to put patients into guardianship.

An I-Team review of state court records found:

  • Tampa Bay area hospitals, including those owned by Baycare, AdventHealth and HCA, went to court to put more than 100 patients into guardianship since 2017 alone.
  • Tampa General Hospital filed five nearly identical court documents seeking guardianship for patients, describing each as having “disorganized thinking and poor cognition.” A hospital spokeswoman said TGH spent $28,000 on guardianship cases so far in just 2019.
  • An attorney for Florida Hospital Altamonte requested guardianship for a patient because her “Kia Soul that was almost paid off… may be repossessed.”

Tampa guardianship attorney Gerald Hemness questioned hospitals’ widespread use of guardianship.

“Certainly, missing a payment on a car doesn’t seem like it would be a financial emergency,” said Hemness. More