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Nursing Homes Balk at 60-Day Generator Requirement

New rules were imposed after residents died in Irma's sweltering aftermath

Nursing Home Generator

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Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are now required to have emergency generators capable of operating for at least 96 hours.

An industry organization representing Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities is challenging an order by Gov. Rick Scott requiring the senior residences to install emergency generators within 60 days.

The state issued the emergency rule after residents of a facility in Hollywood, Fla., died after being left without air-conditioning because of a power outage caused by Hurricane Irma.

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Nursing homes and assisted living facilities will be required to obtain generators and enough fuel to maintain comfortable temperatures for at least 96 hours after a loss of power, with penalties of up to $1,000 per day and license revocation for noncompliance.

“Health care facilities must be fully prepared to ensure the health, safety and well-being of those in their care, and there is absolutely no excuse not to protect life,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said last month.

In its petition, LeadingAge Florida said it wasn’t possible for its members to order generators and have them delivered and installed within the 60 day-deadline or to get the local zoning and other approvals. As a result, many risk fines and loss of their licenses, which could lead to a statewide shortage of nursing-home and assisted-living beds.

The state’s timetable is “unrealistic,” LeadingAge Florida President and CEO Steve Bahmer said in an email. “Let us be clear, this is not a lack of willingness to carry out the governor’s directive," Bahmer said. "It is a timing and logistical issue.”

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