ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - More than two months after a new law mandated for all nursing homes to have an emergency power supply, most are not in compliance. Now they have until January to fix it.
It was a situation officials promised would never happen again.
“It's a sad state of affairs you know. we all have elderly people in facilities. It’s really sad when something like this goes on.”
Twelve people were died in a nursing home last year in Hollywood, Florida after Hurricane Irma. The storm knocked out power, keeping the elderly from getting the care they needed, resulting in their deaths. Now data from the state Agency for Health Care Administration shows 75 percent of Florida nursing home still don’t’ have a permanent emergency power supply in place.
State Rep. Bob Cortes served on the Hurricane Response Subcommittee that created several new requirements after the Hollywood fiasco.
“Many of them did comply by June first. Many of them have not been able to. and those are the issues that we're seeing right now,” said Rep. Cortes.
Only 170 of almost 700 nursing homes fully complied. The rest were granted an extension. Rep. Cortes says every nursing home now has a temporary generator and a safe place it can move its residents to cool down. But 75% of nursing homes still don’t have a generator strong enough to power the entire building. Rep. Cortes says part of the problem is that it’s hard to build additional space for generators because of Florida building code and EPA standards.
“Most of their issues goes with the red tape with the process of permitting,” said Rep. Cortes.
But Rep. Cortes admits, “I guess I'm mixed. because I knew it was an ambitious goal to have.”
The extension ends in January, so Rep. Cortes says all nursing homes must have plans in place by then. If they don’t, they could be fined or have their licenses revoked.