Florida to address emergency generator rules for nursing homes and ALFs

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Governor Rick Scott

Governor Scott rallies support for new emergency generator rules in Florida

After Hurricane Irma caused extended power outages that led to a tragedy at a South Florida rehabilitation center, many called for new emergency generator rules for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

Governor Rick Scott announced today that the Florida Health Care Association, Florida Senior Living Association, LeadingAge Florida and the Florida Assisted Living Association have agreed to support the Governor’s rule to have emergency generators to power their air conditioning units during emergencies. These associations, which represent thousands of nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALFs) in Florida, have worked with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) through the rulemaking process and have agreed to drop their challenges against the agencies and work with their members to have emergency generators. Hundreds of nursing homes and ALFs in Florida have already agreed to follow the Governor’s rule and are working to install the necessary equipment. While the rule challenges against the currently proposed nursing home and assisted living facility generator rules have been dropped by all parties, these rules are still awaiting ratification by the Florida Legislature. The legislature must ratify these rules during the current legislative session.

The Hollywood Hills Rehab Center tragedy inspired the new proposed rules

Governor Scott said, “Following the tragic loss of life at the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center last year, I immediately ordered our state agencies to require each nursing home and ALF in Florida to have emergency generators to keep their residents safe during a disaster. My goal throughout this process was to ensure that every facility in Florida can provide a safe environment for its residents. These rules accomplish this important goal by having generators and fuel supply resources at every nursing home and ALF in Florida. This is a big win for our state and makes Florida one of the first states in the nation to require emergency generators at nursing homes and ALFs. The bottom line is that we fought for residents and they will be safer because of these rules. I look forward to the legislature ratifying these life-saving rules.”

Secretaries and trade associations also support

AHCA Secretary Justin Senior said, “We have put together a rule that we believe can help save lives. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are homes for some of Florida’s most vulnerable populations, and these rules are vital to ensuring patient safety. We are glad that the hard work of Governor Scott and stakeholders will establish standards that will keep Florida’s vulnerable populations safe.”

DOEA Secretary Bragg said, “When Florida families make the decision to place their loved ones in long-term care facilities, they expect that they will be safe and well cared for at all times. Since September, our Department has been working to ensure the safety and welfare of Floridians in assisted living facilities during periods of prolonged power outage. We are glad that all parties were able to come together and create procedures that will ensure protection for these populations.”

Florida Health Care Association Executive Director Emmett Reed said, “The health and well-being of our state’s frail elders is our members’ number one priority. Our association has worked with Governor Scott, AHCA and DOEA since September on how our members can implement these important life-saving rules. We are glad that all stakeholders were able to come to the table, work together and agree to lasting policy that will keep residents and patients safe in Florida.”

Gail Matillo, President of the Florida Senior Living Association said, “Throughout this process, we have remained supportive of the Governor’s original intent – to ensure vulnerable Floridians are kept safe during emergency situations. We believe these rules will benefit both Florida seniors and the communities invested in providing them with quality living environments.”

Shad Haston, Chief Executive Officer of Florida Assisted Living Association said, “Our assisted living facilities are implanted in communities all over the state and ensuring resident safety has been a key issue since the storm this fall. Governor Scott was able to bring key stakeholders together, and work through the rules ensuring that facilities large and small will be able to implement them.”

Steve Bahmer, President and CEO of LeadingAge Florida said, “Ensuring the safety of Florida’s seniors has always been the primary goal of LeadingAge Florida and our members, and we appreciated the Governor’s leadership on this as Hurricane Irma moved through our state. The state has stayed in close contact with our association during the course of this process, and we support the implementation of these rules to ensure that Florida’s seniors are safe.”

With this agreement AHCA and DOEA have filed notice of change to the permanent nursing home and assisted living facility generator rules. The notice of change, associated with the proposed emergency generator rules, can be found here for nursing homes and here for assisted living facilities.

Received from the Governor’s Press Office as an official press release.

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