Tallahassee, FLA. – Today, the Agency for Health Care Administration issued an emergency suspension order on the license of the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills. On September 13, the Agency issued a temporary moratorium on admissions for the facility, which stopped new patients from being admitted. On September 13, the Agency also initiated an investigation of the facility and the preliminary results have shown that a permanent emergency suspension of licensure is warranted and necessary. Today’s action will suspend their ability to operate a nursing home, and prohibit the facility from admitting any patients.
Per the AHCA investigation’s initial findings, residents of the facility did not receive timely medical care because the trained medical professionals at the facility overwhelmingly delayed calling 911. Also, these patients were not timely evacuated to the air-conditioned hospital located across the street. These patients ended up at the hospital with body temperatures of, for example, 109.9 degrees Fahrenheit, 108.5 degrees Fahrenheit, 108.3 degrees Fahrenheit, and 107 degrees Fahrenheit – far too late to be saved. The facility also made many late entries into patients’ medical records. The “late entries” were recorded hours after a nurse visited the patients, and therefore, portray an inaccurate depiction of the situation at the facility.
Agency Secretary Justin Senior said, “As more information has come to light on this egregious situation, this facility absolutely cannot continue to have access to patients. This facility failed its residents multiple times throughout this horrifying ordeal. It is unfathomable that a medical professional would not know to call 911 immediately in an emergency situation. The facility also entered late entries into medical records claiming safe temperatures for patients while those same patients were across the street dying in the emergency room with temperatures of over 108 degrees Fahrenheit. No amount of emergency preparedness could have prevented the gross medical and criminal recklessness that occurred at this facility. For that reason we will suspend their license and completely terminate them from the Medicaid program. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect patients in Florida – especially those who are frail and can’t take care of themselves.”
Between 1:30AM and 5:00AM on September 13, several residents suffered respiratory or cardiac distress, and at least eight of those patients ultimately died as a result of not receiving the medical attention they deserved. On September 13, the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills added many late entries to patients’ medical records. This includes a facility nurse recording a patient’s temperature at 101.6 degrees, but the patient was actually no longer at the facility, and had a recorded temperature 108.3 by the hospital. In a second, and very egregious case a late entry was added that stated the patient was resting in bed with respirations even and unlabored, however, this resident had already died before this entry was made.
Governor Rick Scott said, “The action AHCA took today to close the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center sends a clear message – if you do not protect the patients that are entrusted in your care, you will be held accountable. The more we learn about this facility’s reckless behavior, the more concerning it becomes that the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center made the decision not to immediately call 911 or evacuate to one of the state’s largest hospitals located across the street – which never lost power. We will not stop demanding answers to these questions on behalf of every family who lost a loved one.”
This facility’s license to operate a nursing home in Florida is immediately suspended based upon the facts presented to the Agency. Their Medicaid participation has been terminated. A copy of the facility’s suspension order is attached. AHCA is currently conducting an investigation. The Hollywood Police Department and FDLE are also conducting a criminal investigation.