Following the tragic deaths of eight people at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Broward County, Governor Rick Scott has directed the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) to issue emergency rules requiring all assisted living facilities (ALFs) and nursing homes to “obtain ample resources, including a generator and the appropriate amount of fuel, to sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures [in the proposed rule defined as 80 degrees Fahrenheit] for at least 96-hours following a power outage” within the next sixty (60) days.
Florida Argentum, a leading industry group, has been working with the Governor’s staff and the various departments to obtain clarification of the proposed rule, including:
- The time-frame to implement the rule;
- The type and size of generators required;
- How much of community must be cooled at the required 80°F;
- Safely maintaining enough fuel on-site; permitting, code enforcement and zoning requirements; and
- Adding assisted living communities to be added to the priority list with power companies.
While the Governor’s intentions are no-doubt honorable, the rule as originally suggested places what is possibly an unrealistic and an undue burden on senior living facilities – particularly considering that the proposed 60-day implementation does not take into account the availability of generators, the need to have electricians and other experts determine how to integrate such systems and any local zoning or other rules that might be triggered by the installation of generators. Further, many owners/operators have questioned appropriateness and fairness of imposing such a burden on all ALFs and nursing homes following a single incident.
AHCA and DOEA are accepting comments, questions, and concerns regarding this rule. If you would like to voice your concerns, please submit your questions to BHFR@ahca.myflorida.com. Once the final rule is approved, we will send a follow-up e-blast with the impact of the final rule on senior living facilities.