More than six months after residents of a Broward County nursing home died following Hurricane Irma, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed two bills that nail down requirements for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to have backup generators and fuel supplies.
The bills (HB 7099 and SB 7028), passed this month by the Legislature, ratified rules issued by the Scott administration.
The ratified rules replaced emergency rules issued in September following the deaths of residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. Hurricane Irma knocked out the Hollywood nursing home’s air-conditioning system, which led to sweltering conditions.
The emergency rules drew legal challenges, but the more-permanent rules ratified by the Legislature this month were negotiated by the Scott administration and parts of the long-term care industry. The nursing home rule, for example, requires facilities to have alternative power sources, such as generators, that can keep temperatures at 81 degrees for at least 96 hours.
Areas cooled would have to at least be the equivalent of 30 square feet per resident. Also, nursing homes would have to keep 72 hours of fuel on site.
Scott signed the bills during an appearance in Lee County.