Many times, state and federal regulators levy substantial and, more often, minimal ($100) fines against facilities when serious injury and deaths occur. The question is how meaningful these fines are and whether they help change how the facility operates.

The Miami Herald ( 12-31-11) recently featured an article regarding assisted living facilities in Florida that received  fines as a result of deaths caused by a variety of negligent acts, such as scalding, but yet continued to receive enormous amounts of public funding for resident care. The point of the article focused on the fact that regulatory fines and sanctions do little to correct poor practices when millions of dollars continue to pour into the facilities accused of resident neglect and misconduct.

Paying millions to facilities that fail to provide safe and adequate care raises serious questions about our regulatory system.

Perhaps closing more facilities in cases of egregious misconduct would prompt positive changes in an industry that treats fines like parking tickets.