Hundreds of senior care facilities lack backup power despite new state rules

The deaths of 12 residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills due to excessive heat after Hurricane Irma led to state rules requiring backup power at nursing homes and assisted living facilities

Jun.June 02, 2018 10:00 AM

The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where 12 residents died last year in sweltering heat after Hurricane Irma (Credit: Miami Herald)

Despite new state rules that require backup power for air conditioning at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, hundreds of them are still vulnerable to an electricity outage.

The new rules, which became effective on Friday, the first day of the 2018 hurricane season, were approved after a dozen residents of a Hollywood nursing home died of excessive heat last September after Hurricane Irma knocked out its power.

The rules requiring backup power apply to all of Florida’s 3,101 assisted living facilities and 685 nursing homes.

But the state agency that enforces the rules, the Agency of Health Care Administration, reported that only 91 assisted living facilities and 48 nursing homes had installed backup-power equipment that state officials had inspected as of May 25.

Requests for extensions to install backup-power equipment and have it inspected were filed by 343 assisted living facilities and 348 nursing homes.

Extensions have been approved for another 567 nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

They have until Jan. 1, 2019, to get backup-power equipment installed and inspected, which means many may lack the state-mandated backup power for air conditioning during the current hurricane season.

Gov. Rick Scott ordered emergency rules that require backup power generators at nursing homes and assisted living facilities after 12 residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died last September after the center lost power during Hurricane Irma. The fatalities triggered an ongoing homicide investigation of the nursing home. [Miami Herald]  – Mike Seemuth

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