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FHCA Pledges Support For Nursing Home Plans, Urges Reasonable Approach

Tallahassee, FL –  Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) today affirmed their commitment to working with Governor Scott and the Legislature to take appropriate steps to protect frail residents of skilled nursing centers from the impacts of natural disasters.

In a statement FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed said, “Governor Scott has taken the right course by asking state agencies to begin a rulemaking process so each skilled nursing center and assisted living facility has the means to maintain essential power in the aftermath of a disaster. FHCA, its members, and its partners look forward to providing meaningful input in this process as we work to ensure that our residents can be kept cool and safe in a disaster.”

FHCA leaders also detailed the challenges faced by long-term care providers in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and the solutions FHCA is proposing going forward to Florida legislators.

Bob Asztalos, FHCA’s lead lobbyist, was prepared to testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services that the association fully supports the goal behind Governor Rick Scott’s call for emergency generators at all long-term care and assisted living facilities. However, he said, implementation must allow for achievable timelines the give centers sufficient opportunity to acquire and properly install the backup generators. “Experts have made it clear that the timeline that’s been put forth is simply not achievable. We have drafted changes to the rule and other recommendations that would give nursing homes and ALFs time and flexibility to meet the objective of keeping residents in a cool and safe environment during a disaster,” Asztalos said. “We share the same goal as the Governor and the Legislature – to ensure that our centers are as safe as possible, as soon as possible – so let’s work together to get this right.”

During the House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee, Reed was prepared to testify that long-term care facilities face greater challenges than they did a decade ago because skilled nursing centers care for residents who until recently would have been in hospitals with powerful emergency backup generators – individuals who depend on ventilators, oxygen, dialysis, and other life-sustaining mechanical support. Reed noted that over 400 nursing centers across Florida lose power during Hurricane Irma. "Prioritizing nursing centers as critical facilities – similar to how hospitals are prioritized – will ensure that our residents receive assistance in a manner that is consistent with their medical needs.”

Kristen Knapp, APR
Director of Communications
Florida Health Care Association
kknapp@fhca.org or (850) 701-3530