Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday announced new rules that require Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have backup generators for interior-temperature control when power outages occur.
The governor’s announcement came three days after eight patients of an excessively hot Hollywood nursing home died amid South Florida’s recovery from Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in the state as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 10.
Under the new rules, all nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida have 60 days to obtain a generator and enough fuel to supply power for a minimum of 96 hours after a power outage.
Two state agencies will issue the new rules Gov. Scott announced, which are based on existing standards for Florida hospitals.
Senior housing facilities that fail to comply with the new rules will faces fines as costly as $1,000 a day and possible revocation of their licenses to operate.
Eight elderly patients of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died after Hurricane Irma disabled a transformer and cut power to the center’s air conditioning system, according to an official at the facility.
Police have started a criminal investigation of the incident.
Witnesses have said the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills was oppressively hot when emergency calls led to an evacuation of the patients there on Wednesday.
Gov. Scott subsequently directed state authorities to prevent the center from admitting new patients and to terminate its participation in Florida’s Medicaid program. [Wall Street Journal] — Mike Seemuth