Florida’s 683 licensed nursing homes and 3,109 assisted living facilities have just a few weeks to meet Gov. Rick Scott’s rule to install generators, but there are very few generators available and most won’t make it, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services heard on Wednesday.

The first hearing of that committee to deal with nursing homes’ emergency plan safety in the wake of the Hollywood Hills tragedy, in which 14 elderly residents appeared to have baked to death because the Hurricane Irma power outage pushed up indoor temperatures, dealt more with state programs and procedures than with that tragedy, but it overhung almost everything discussed.

And the need for Scott’s ordered rule, signed Sept. 16, five days after Hurricane Irma shut down power for most of the state and three days after deaths were revealed at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, included the order for backup power for cooling. Industry representatives said they support the concept, but argued that most nursing homes and assisted living facilities will struggle with the costs, and with the availability of generators to meet the 60-day deadline for installation.

There was some talk of the state assisting with money, but the committee mostly listened to testimony, and did not state any directions. Chairwoman Anitere Flores, a Miami Republican, said she would schedule a legislative workshop later.

Molly McKinstry, deputy secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration said her agency and other state agencies were in constant contact before, during and after Hurricane Irma with all the state’s nursing homes. The state is being sued over the Hollywood Hills horror, and so she said she could not talk in any specifics about it, though she called it an isolated incident among the hundreds of such facilities statewide.

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