Florida’s leading nursing home association is pushing back on that state’s public accusations that nearly two dozen nursing homes missed a key deadline in Gov. Rick Scott‘s emergency generator rule.
A statement Wednesday from the Agency for Health Care Administration claims 23 nursing homes have not followed Scott’s rule that nursing homes and assisted living facilities must file emergency plans by Oct. 31, and purchase generators and fuel by Nov. 15 to sufficiently keep a temperature of 82 degrees in case of emergency.
Those charges are both unfair and false, said Emmett Reed, executive director of the Florida Health Care Association.
“The AHCA appears to have made no attempt to contact facilities in advance to verify the accuracy of this ill-conceived list before releasing it to the public,” Reed said in a statement. “Several facilities on the list not only submitted their documentation, but those variance requests have also been published on the AHCA website since Oct. 16.”
FHCA, which stands for most of the state’s 683 nursing homes, is “disappointed” by the AHCA statement, Reed said, noting that at least three of the nursing homes accused of noncompliance had submitted emergency plans by Oct. 31.
“It appears AHCA is more interested in generating news stories than in gathering facts and arriving at a place of consensus to will ensure that nursing homes meet the Governor’s mandate, despite its unrealistic timeline,” Reed added.
FHCA has “consistently stated its willingness to work with the agency,” Reed said, to prepare nursing centers and assisted living facilities so they can stay safe during severe weather events and other disasters.
Scott issued the Emergency Power Plan Rule Sept. 16 in response to the deaths of 14 elderly residents at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills which lost power during Hurricane Irma. The AHCA and the state’s Department of Elder Affairs were tasked with administering the order.
FHCA, along with other organizations representing nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, argues that Scott’s order was hastily prepared, and fails to give them enough time to implement.
The rule was challenged in administrative court, with Scott appealing the challenge. The issue is now in the 1st District Court of Appeal.
FHCA — which did not challenge the rule — has repeated asked Scott’s administration to negotiate directly with the trade groups, using the rule-making process instead of going through the courts.
Despite his disappointment with the AHCA accusations, Reed said his group remains “committed to working with the Governor and his administration to adopt workable procedures to protect the well-being of those entrusted to our care.”