TAMPA, Fla. — Dozens of assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Tampa Bay might not be ready to handle the impact of a storm like Hurricane Dorian.
That’s even after they’ve had more than a year to meet a state law requiring an emergency plan including backup power and enough fuel to maintain air conditioning for 72 hours.
The law was passed after 14 people died after being trapped in sweltering conditions at a rehabilitation facility in Broward County in the days after Hurricane Irma.
10Investigates’ Courtney Robinson went through the public database from the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration, which shows the status of the emergency power plans for assisted living facilities and nursing homes, and found out just how many might not be prepared for a major storm.
As of Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, there were 70 assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the Tampa Bay area listed as not being in compliance. That means they don't have a fully approved and implemented plan.
Another 134 do not have permanent generators and the state has given them extra time to fully implement their emergency power plan.
10Investigates called a number of the facilities listed as not being in compliance. Some said they had permanent generators and enough fuel.
Deputy communications director with Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, Patrick Manderfield, said the agency has fined a total of 287 facilities for failure to come into compliance with emergency power rules.
A representative for ACHA said the main reasons for delays in implementation are: availability of proper equipment, installation scheduling, mechanical engineering plan reviews and approvals.
Secretary Mary Mayhew sent this statement:
“Our agency remains committed to bringing all facilities into compliance with the emergency power rules. Currently, 80 percent of all nursing homes and assisted living facilities have permanent generators and 96 percent have either a permanent generator, temporary generator onsite, plans to have a temporary generator delivered or a full evacuation plan in case of a power outage. Facilities that have failed to come into compliance will continue to be held accountable. In many cases AHCA has imposed sanctions or moved forward with licensure action, and further Agency actions for noncompliance are still pending. Agency staff are also conducting outreach activities with each facility without current generator information in the potential impact area today.”
Brian Lee works with the non-profit Families for Better Care and advocates for the elderly.
He said it's critical to ask questions about emergency and disaster plans before choosing a facility.
Lee said family members should ask to see physically see the plan, ask if they have permanent generators and if your loved one is evacuated and where they'll go.
You can check your loved one’s facility and see a summary of their emergency power plan here.
To see what facilities are not in compliance, visit AHCA's Summary Report Tab and use the settings to search by county or city. The facilities with "no" in the "current variance requested or approved" column are not in compliance.
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