First legislation filed after nursing home deaths – Florida Politics (blog)
A South Florida senator has filed the first bill in response to the deaths of eight nursing home residents this week after Hurricane Irma knocked out their power.
Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat, filed the measure (SB 284) on Friday afternoon.
Among other things, it would require the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) “to determine compliance with standards for electricity and emergency power sources during the routine inspection of a licensed nursing home facility.”
Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez has said investigators believe the deaths at Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were heat-related, adding that a criminal investigation is underway, according to the Associated Press. The chief said authorities have not ruled anything out in the deaths, including carbon monoxide poisoning from generators.
Book’s bill also would require “a licensed nursing home facility to have adequate electrical equipment, an emergency power source, and a supply of fuel.” Book, elected last year, is also the Senate’s Democratic Leader pro tempore.
Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott directed AHCA to block the Hollywood facility from receiving Medicaid payments.
It “was responsible to provide patients a safe environment and they failed to do so,” Scott’s office said in a statement. “The state has had multiple points of contact with this facility prior to the tragedy, and at no time did the facility communicate any imminent threats to their patients’ life or safety.”
The Florida Health Care Association, an advocacy group for long term care providers, Thursday called the Broward County deaths an “isolated incident” and “not representative of the larger long term care profession in Florida.”
But Senate President pro tempore Anitere Flores, a Miami-Dade Republican, told reporters in Tallahassee Friday that she expects criminal charges to be filed.
“I think someone, more than someone, is going to go to jail over this,” said Flores, speaking after a Legislative Budget Commission meeting.