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Nursing Homes Battle the State in Administrative Hearing

October 13th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Nursing Homes are duking it out with the Agency for Health Care Administration in front off an administrative judge over an emergency rule requiring facilities to install generators in their facilities.
They’re challenging the rule’s November 15th deadline.
The generators are required by an emergency rule issued in mid-September following the deaths of 8 elderly residents in a Broward County nursing home.
Days later the death toll hit 14.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities faced off with the state in the Administrative hearing Friday.
The homes are arguing 60 days is not enough time to plan for and install generators and four days of fuel.
Homes that miss the deadline face a $1,000 dollar a day fine and potentially the loss of their license.
“There’s so many moving pieces to this to be able to come in full compliance,” said Gwen Thibault, Chairperson of the Florida Argentum Association.
The state says homes who can prove they can’t meet the deadline can ask for another 6 months to comply.
“The ability to comply with this rule is there, the waiver process is there, which gives relief for those that, for a good reason, can’t,” said Attorney Steve Ecenia, representing AHCA and the Department of Elder Affairs.
The Agency for Health Care Administration released a new emergency rule Thursday, outlining in detail how facilities can apply for the extension.
It came as good news to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“It’s a step in the right direction and does take away the ability to fine us,” said Thibault.
Despite concerns from nursing homes, the state says most should be able to make the 60 deadline.
A deadline it argues, that will make residents safer.
“We’ve seen the danger that not putting a safe environment for people can cause and we want to ensure that doesn’t happen in the future,” said Ecenia.
Even if the emergency rule is overturned, nursing homes likely wouldn’t be off the hook.
At least three bills have been filed for the 2018 session to require generators.
The nursing home groups have also filed challenges to the emergency rule in a state appellate court.

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