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3-28-18

Emergency Generators at all Florida Nursing Homes and ALF’s


Staff Reports


Monday, the Governor signed SB 7028 and HB 7099 in Fort Myers, which makes permanent the emergency rules requiring every nursing home and ALF in Florida to have emergency generators to keep residents safe.  Governor Scott directed the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DEA) to issue the emergency rules immediately following the tragedy at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills during Hurricane Irma last year. Florida is one of the first states in the nation to require emergency generators at nursing homes and ALFs.


According to the summary, SB 7028 ratifies a Department of Elderly Affairs rule to ensure that assisted living facilities have an alternative power source. The rule was developed in response to the death of 12 nursing home residents in Hollywood, Florida, from heat exposure due to power outages resulting from Hurricane Irma in September, 2017. Assisted living facilities are licensed by the state to provide custodial care for residents who cannot live independently but do not need skilled nursing care.


The Department of Elderly Affairs wrote Rule 58A-5.036, Florida Administrative Code, entitled “Emergency Environmental Control for Assisted Living Facilities” to require all such facilities to have an alternative power source by June 1, 2018. The power source must ensure that the temperature in a portion of the facility large enough to accommodate all of the facility’s residents is maintained at 81 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. Assisted living facilities must have access to sufficient fuel to run the alternative power source for a minimum of 96 hours in the event of the loss of primary electrical power. The rule was published February 13, 2018.


Section 120.541, Florida Statutes, requires any rule that increases regulatory costs on the private sector by more than $1 million over 5 years be ratified by the Legislature before it may take effect. The Department of Elderly Affairs determined that the proposed rule will likely increase regulatory costs by more than this amount with the implementation of the rule.
If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect upon becoming law.    


Governor Scott said, “The tragedy at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills made it clear more needed to be done to ensure the protection of vulnerable Floridians during emergencies like Hurricane Irma. That is why I immediately ordered state agencies to issue emergency rules requiring each nursing home and ALF in Florida to have emergency generators on hand to keep residents safe. We fought aggressively to quickly implement this life-saving rule at facilities across the state and I am proud to sign legislation today that makes this rule permanent. Florida is one of the first states in the nation to require emergency generators at nursing homes and ALFs, and I appreciate the work of Senate President Joe Negron, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, and all the legislators who supported this important legislation. As we near the 2018 hurricane season, families can now know the facilities responsible for caring for their loved ones will have the resources needed to be fully prepared ahead of any potential storms.”