In 2017, tragedy struck a Hollywood, FL nursing home in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. 12 residents died from heat related causes when the air conditioning failed at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.
Those deaths prompted action among state lawmakers. To help prevent future incidents, a law was passed in 2018 mandating that all nursing homes and assisted living facilities across Florida install generators (or another power source) with enough fuel to last four days that could be used in case of a power outage.
However, an August 5 report by WPTV in West Palm Beach shows that over a 1,000 facilities still don’t have generators or another solution. They also released a map showing which facilities either have generators – or do not have them and have received a variance from the state (shown above).
The state tracks approvals for emergency power plans and requests for “variances” – or more time to install a generator. The data on the map is current as of July 23, 2019. Many facilities have received multiple variances related to financial hardship or installation delays and the question is – when will all Florida facilities be in full compliance?
The Florida Healthcare Association reports:
- There are 691 licensed nursing homes in Florida, representing approximately 84,448 beds (Source: Agency for Health Care Administration)
- There are 3,080 licensed ALFs in Florida, representing approximately 106,103 beds. (Source: Agency for Health Care Administration)
Why is this a continuing issue?
One reason is that The Agency for Health Care Administration cannot manage compliance of the law. There simply is not enough man power to validate or follow-up on the thousands of facilities.
Family members of nursing home residents may also wonder if these facilities are dragging their feet simply because of the costs involved? The hassle having generators installed? The time involved with compliance?
If another hurricane or other event were to knock out power and something happened to these nursing home residents, would the facilities be liable for harm? Quite possibly – though it’s hard to know. Each and every case of neglect or injury that occurs at Florida nursing homes is different, with unique sets of circumstances.
For more information regarding nursing home and assisted living facility lawsuits – or just to ask questions of a Florida nursing home attorney, please call our office today at 305-670-0101.