A new Florida rule requiring generators at all nursing homes and assisted- living facilities passed last legislative session after Hurricane Irma knocked out power to much of Florida for an extended period. In Hollywood, Florida 14 people in a rehabilitation center died, and 12 were ruled homicide. A swift push to pass legislation requiring generatros followed, and was signed by Governor Rick Scott in late March.
News headlines point out that the July 1 deadline has come and gone, but many facilities still don’t have those generators. But, the Florida Health Care Association’s executive director, Emmitt Reed, says making that deadline would have been impossible.
“It’s a big process to put in one of these generators and it takes months and months,” Reed said.
The Florida Health Care Association represents hundreds of Florida assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Reed says the generators aren’t like the ones you pick up at the corner hardware store, and their installation requires four levels of permitting, more than a month of planning, pricing, drafting and design, and sometimes several months for shipping and installation.
Still, according to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration, more than 90% of the state’s 3,758 facilities either have implemented the requirement or have had an extension approved- meaning they are in compliance.
“Just because they’re compliant doesn’t mean that they have the actual generator, the permanent generator on site and installed- but they have a plan in place that would ensure the residents would be kept cool and safe if the power went out,” Reed said.
He adds, that plan could include a mobile generator or an evacuation plan in case of emergency- and that plan has to be approved before an extension is given.