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Guardianship bill clearing Florida House, Senate awaits governor's signature

Posted: 7:56 PM, Mar 12, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-12 19:56:37-04
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A final vote supports a bill that will better protect Florida's senior citizens by cracking down on bad guardians.

Now that lawmakers have passed it, that means it just needs the governor's signature to become law.

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Lawmakers began looking at reforms last summer.

This came after a judge removed professional guardian Rebecca Fierle from more than 100 cases after she placed do not resuscitate orders on people under her care without permission.

Fierle was arrested in February and was charged with felony neglect and abuse of an elderly person following the death of Steven Stryker.

Styker died after Fierle ordered his feeding tube removed and placed a DNR order on him against the wishes of Stryker, his family and his doctors.

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The new law would require guardians to ask for a judge's permission before seeking a DNR. It would also better regulate how professional guardians are chosen and paid.

Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom says he hopes the new law will prevent professional guardians for abusing and exploiting vulnerable seniors.

“Transparency, honesty and education is important moving forward. When people come to this state, they need to feel safe,” Prudom said.

Prudom says he believes the new law will also make it easier for the state to prosecute professional guardians who commit crimes.

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