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Hurricane Irma Nursing Home Lawsuit Dismissed

Police surround the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out a transformer, in Hollywood, Fla.
Police surround the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out a transformer, in Hollywood.

U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas last week ended the case after attorneys for The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills and the Department of Health and Human Services agreed to the dismissal.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Broward County nursing home where residents died after Hurricane Irma in 2017.

U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas last week ended the case after attorneys for The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agreed to the dismissal.

The agreement, known as a stipulation, did not provide further details.

The nursing home filed the lawsuit in July 2020 to challenge a decision by the department to block the facility from federal health care programs. The nursing home argued that its due-process rights had been violated.

Hurricane Irma in September 2017 knocked out the facility’s air conditioning, with authorities attributing as many as 12 resident deaths to sweltering conditions in the building.

The deaths and an evacuation of the facility drew national media coverage, and the nursing home contended that former Gov. Rick Scott’s administration rushed to take disciplinary action for political reasons.

Part of that disciplinary action was a move by the state Agency for Health Care Administration to suspend the nursing home from the Medicaid program - a move that was the basis of the facility being excluded from federal health-care programs.

The state also subsequently revoked the nursing home’s license.

Copyright 2021 Health News Florida

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