Florida Legal Requirements for an Adult Family Care Home
Adult Family Care Homes are Agency for Health Care Administration (“AHCA” or Agency) licensed facilities that provide care to disabled adults and frail elders in a family-type living environment. These adults choose to live with an individual or a family in a private home. One key distinction between an Assisted Living Facility and an Adult Family Care Home (“AFCH”) is that the Provider must also live in the home, which can be owned or rented by that Provider. The home has to meet the local zoning requirements prior to obtaining the AHCA license. The intent behind the Adult Family Care Home Act is to allow for residents of AFCHs to remain as independent as possible and to avoid placement in a nursing home or other licensed facility.
AFCH means a full-time, family-type living arrangement, in a private home, under which a person who owns or rents the home provides room, board, and personal care, on a 24-hour basis, for no more than five disabled adults or frail elders who are not relatives. Personal care services includes individual assistance with or supervision of the activities or daily living and the self-determination of medication, and other similar services. A resident who requires 24-hour nursing supervision may not be retained in an AFCH unless such resident is an enrolled hospice patient and the resident’s continued residency is mutually agreeable to the resident. Certain types of family-type living arrangements are not required to be licensed as an AFCH.
Although no more than five adults may reside in the home, the licensed maximum capacity of each AFCH is based on the service needs of the residents and the capability of the provider to meet the needs of the residents. Any relative who lives in the adult family-care home and who is a disabled adult or frail elder must be included in that maximum resident count.
AFCH Requirements and License Restrictions
AFCHs must designate at least one licensed space for a resident receiving optional state supplementation. AFCHs are required to provide all residents: (1) room and board; (2) assistance necessary to perform the activities of dialing living; (3) assistance necessary to administer medication; (4) supervision of residents; (5) health monitoring; and (6) social and leisure activities.
Each AFCH license is effective for 2 years from the date of issuance or renewal. These licenses are non-transferable and is valid only for the provider named, the capacity stated, and the premises described on the license.
AFCHs may advertise but these accommodations and services may not be listed in the yellow pages under the heading of “nursing home” or “assisted living facility”. The advertisement must include the term Adult Family-Care Home and the license number.
In order to be admitted as a resident of an AFCH, an individual must be: (1) at least 18 years of age; (2) free from apparent signs and symptoms of any communicable disease; (3) capable of self-preservation in an emergency situation involving the immediate evacuation of the AFCH, with ambulation; (4) be able to perform, with supervision or assistance, activities of daily living; (5) not be a danger to self or others; (6) not require licensed professional mental health treatment on a 24-hour a day basis; and (7) not be bedridden, to name a few.
Prior to admission to an AFCH, an individual must have a face-to-face medical examination conducted by a licensed healthcare provider. Every year thereafter, or after a significant change, the resident must have a face-to-face medical examination.
Prior to, or at the time of admission, the AFCH must provide the resident or their representative with the following: (1) a copy of the AFCH house rules; (2) Resident’s Bill of Rights, and (3) the procedure for making complaints to AHCA, the Department of Children and Families, or the Florida Department of Health.
Each resident has a statutorily defined Bill of Rights that the AFCH is required to adhere to. Some of these rights include: (a) living in a safe and decent living environment, free from abuse and neglect; (b) keep and use the resident’s own clothes and other personal property in the resident’s immediate living quarters, so as to maintain individuality and personal dignity; (c) unrestricted private communication, including receiving and sending unopened correspondence, having access to a telephone, and visiting with any person of his or her choice, at any time between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at a minimum; (d) management or resident’s own financial affairs; (e) share a room with the resident’s spouse if both are residents of the home; (f) exercise of civil and religious liberties; (g) access to adequate and appropriate healthcare; and (i) to be free from chemical and physical restraints.
Each resident must enter into a residency agreement with the provider, which is to be executed prior to or on the date of admission. The residency agreement must be kept on file for five years after expiration of the agreement. Additionally, each residency agreement must specify the personal care and accommodations to be provided by the AFCH, the rate or charges, a requirement of at least 30 days’ notice before a rate increase, and any other provisions required by AHCA or any other governing agency.
A resident shall not be discharged without 30 days’ written notice stating reasons for the move or transfer. The only exception to this written notice requirement is if the resident’s health requires immediate relocation; resident’s behavior poses an imminent danger to self or others, significantly interferes with the orderly operation of the home, or is continually offensive to other residents; or if the AFCH had its license denied, revoked, or voluntarily surrendered its license.
An AFCH Provider must bet at least 21 years old, live in the home, complete the required training and be able to read, write and complete written materials involved in applying for an AFCH license and maintaining an AFCH.
Each AFCH Provider must complete training and education programs. Training and education programs must include information relating to the appropriateness of placement of residents in an AFCH; identifying and reporting abuse, neglect, and exploitation; monitoring the health of residents and identifying and meeting the special needs of disabled adults and frail elders.
There are many other considerations that one must take into account when deciding to run an AFCH. An AFCH has certain personal services and supervision requirements, incident reporting requirements, health monitoring, food service and nursing services requirements, relief person and training requirements, records requirements, general requirements, fire safety standards, and emergency procedure requirements that were not addressed in this blog post but are critically important to operating your AFCH. If you are interested in operating an AFCH I would encourage you contact an experience health law attorney at Jones Health Law to assist you with navigating these requirements and others.
It should be noted that I am not your lawyer (unless you have presently retained my services through a retainer agreement). This post is not intended as legal advice, it is purely educational and informational, and no attorney-client relationship shall result after reading it. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. If you do not have one and would like to retain my legal services, please contact me using the contact information listed above.
All information and references made to laws, rules, regulations, and advisory opinions were accurate based on the law as it existed at this time, but laws are constantly evolving. Please contact me to be sure that the law which will govern your business is current. Thank you.