OCOEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed to vigorously scrutinize Florida's embattled guardianship program following revelations of potential wrongdoing by a professional guardian in the death of a 75-year-old ward.
Speaking during a press availability with reporters in Ocoee on Wednesday morning, DeSantis said state officials "will take whatever action we need" to address concerns about the guardianship program.
The director of the program resigned abruptly earlier this month. In her one-sentence resignation letter submitted July 12, Carol Berkowitz, the director of the Office of Public and Private Guardians, didn't explain her departure.
Questions about the program intensified after the 75-year-old man died in a hospital when medical staff was for barred from treating him because of a "do not resuscitate" order allegedly filed by his guardian without his family's consent.
On Thursday, the Department of Elder affairs provided this information to News 6:
Secretary Richard Prudom oversees the Department of Elder Affairs and the activities of its programs, including the Office of Public and Professional Guardianship.
Prudom will oversee the office and its existing staff until he names a new director.
“My number one priority is to do everything possible to protect Florida seniors.” Prudom said in a statement released to News 6. “I take seriously allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in the guardianship program. We are actively investigating these complaints and are doing everything possible under the law to hold bad actors accountable.”