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Assisted Living Facilities Are Challenging Rule Requiring Generator Power in Emergencies

| December 18, 2017

Not critical enough for them? (Misha Maslennikov)

Not critical enough for them? (Misha Maslennikov)

A statewide long-term care association has challenged a proposal by Gov. Rick Scott’s administration to make permanent a controversial rule that requires assisted-living facilities to have generators and enough fuel to provide 96 hours of backup power.

Attorneys for the Florida Senior Living Association filed a petition Friday in state administrative court arguing that the Florida Department of Elder Affairs overstepped its legislative authority and that the new proposed rule puts requirements on assisted-living facilities that are not authorized in state law.

The Florida Senior Living Association, formerly known as Florida Argentum, also argues in the petition that the proposed rule is vague. The group represents more than 350 assisted living facilities across the state.

“The proposed rule is impermissibly vague as evidenced by DOEA’s (the Department of Elder Affairs’) inability to answer basic questions relating to standards it intends to enforce should the proposed rule go into effect,” one part of the petition says.

The proposed rule closely tracks an emergency rule the Department of Elder Affairs issued in September following Hurricane Irma. That rule and one issued by Agency for Health Care Administration that affects nursing homes were invalidated in October after a trio of industry groups, including The Florida Senior Living Association, challenged them.

Despite the invalidation decision by an administrative law judge, the Scott administration maintains that the emergency rules remain in effect and has been enforcing them. A Scott spokesman also fired back against the new rule challenge filed Friday.

“This rule is solely focused on saving lives. This association should focus on keeping seniors safe and not on lawsuits,” Scott spokesman McKinley Lewis said.

The rules stem from the deaths of eight residents of a Broward County nursing home on Sept. 13, three days after Hurricane Irma hit the state. The nursing home, The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, lost its air-conditioning system in the storm and did not have a backup power system to cool the building.

The emergency rules drew criticism and opposition from nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, in part, because of a short timeframe to install generators and add fuel supplies.

Amid the legal wrangling about the emergency rules, the Scott administration proposed the more-permanent rules. Also, lawmakers are expected to consider several proposals during the upcoming legislative session about requiring generators and fuel supplies.

State estimates indicate that complying with the generator and fuel-supply requirements would cost $280 million for assisted-living facilities and $186 million for nursing homes. The large price tags mean the rules would have to be ratified by the Legislature before they could take effect.

The Scott administration also has moved to revoke the license of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which is fighting the decision. A multi-day hearing is scheduled to start Jan. 29 in that case.

–Christine Sexton, News Service of Florida

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11 Responses for “Assisted Living Facilities Are Challenging Rule Requiring Generator Power in Emergencies”

  1. Resident says:

    Why would they be challenging a possible life saving security? This would only make sense in so many ways – come on people – think of something other than the all mighty dollar like “lives”.

  2. Dave says:

    Get to it! how long does it take yo install a generator ? 2 hrs? Whats the problem? Just have it done this week. People always find something to complain about

  3. Kathy A says:

    Why would the facilities challenge this? I would never want a loved in to go through the tragedy in south Florida after Irma. It’s appalling!!!! Install them now.

  4. tulip says:

    Those homes make a ton of money and is the only home those defenseless people have in their latter years. It is inhumane not to have a safe hvac installed with backups incase of power loss, and the state should refuse to renew their licenses until the homes do have them installed. It’s a disgrace how the elderly are treated when they can’t fend for themselves.

  5. Todd says:

    Not sure where the State comes up with their math. $280 million for 350 assisted living facilities? That’s $800K per facility. A generator does not cost that much unless the government is purchasing them. They should be installed today.

  6. Kim says:

    Of course they are. It’s not about providing for seniors, it’s about money. And the Republicans will back them up. They did the same thing when this happened in 2004. No surprise.

  7. Kim says:

    Of course they are. It’s not about providing for seniors, it’s about money and profits. Voiceless old people are good business. This is the same thing that happened in 2004. And the Republicans come down on the side of money. No surprise.

  8. Seriously says:

    These comments are seriously ignorant. Commercial generators are very expensive and must be custom built to support large buildings like these facilities. And you have to store enough fuel to run them. Not to mention this is an unfunded mandate imposed on private businesses

  9. Bc. says:

    As usual the government will always over pay and send the bill to the tax payers. This should have been done years ago.

  10. ASF says:

    If your loved one was in one of those facilities, believe me, you would want and expect them to have a back-up generator in case of emergencies.

  11. a tiny manatee says:

    Looking forward to “an unfunded mandate imposed on private business” being your last words as you lie alone, rotting in a completely unregulated assisted living facility waiting for inevitable summer dieoff due to the cost saving measure of setting the thermostats to 90.

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