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Nursing Home Generator Rule Challenged

September 28th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

A group representing more than one hundred nursing homes in the state has filed a challenge to an emergency order to install generators before November 15th. And as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the homes say they want to comply, but the timeline set by the state is impossible to meet.

Rick Scott issued the emergency order on Sept 16th, three days after patients started dying from heat and other causes at a Hollywood Hills nursing home.

”We need to have generators on site.” Justin Senior, the head of the agency charged with enforcing the order, briefed nursing homes at a Summit last week.

“If folks have the ability to keep their residents comfortable for 96 hours post storm, that alleviates a lot of the concerns around a power outage for the first few days” Senior told us after he addressed the 300 operators in the room.

The 17 page petition filed by LeadingAge, which represents a hundred homes, seeks an administrative hearing. They want to delay the enforcement of the order.

In a statement, CEO Stephen Bahmer says “This is not a lack of willingness to carry out the Governor’s directive.”It is a timing and logistical issue.”

The petition is blunt, calling the timeline “Impossible”.

Generator experts at lat week’s summit said the same. Mike Acree is with RingPower.

“It’s usually a year to a year and a half process” Acree told us.

Existing state law does provide for a waiver to the rule.

Seeking  a waiver is the course the homes represented by The Florida Health Care Association have chosen to pursue according to Kristen Knapp.

We asked “Nursing homes show good faith, and go to the state and say it can’t be done in your time line?”

“Exactly” said Knapp. “We’re still waiting for that clarification from AHCA, but essentially showing how they put the plans into motion.”

Homes who fail to comply with the deadline could be fined up to a thousand dollars a day or, in extreme cases, lose their license to operate and care for patients.

This afternoon, Governor Rick Scotts Deputy Communications Director said in a statement: “The Governor’s rule is solely focused on saving lives. This association should focus solely on keeping seniors safe and not on lawsuits.”

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