The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) today launched a new, interactive website that allows families to find out which nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALFs) in Florida are in compliance with the emergency power rules. This webpage updates daily and enables viewers to view data by county, facility type, and status of compliance. Recognizing the significant public interest in this issue, AHCA is prioritizing the transparency of this data availability.
AHCA also announced that currently, 99 percent of nursing homes and a majority of the assisted living facility (ALF) beds are in homes that have the emergency backup power that is required by the rules or have submitted a plan to have this power installed within the coming months. AHCA’s new website is important as it will be updated daily to reflect facilities coming into compliance with the rules and those installing emergency backup power. Data shows that 683 of 684 nursing homes are in compliance, and 1,620 ALFs are in compliance, representing 71,974 licensed beds out of 101,997.
Secretary Justin Senior said, “Ensuring the safety of the patients and residents in Florida’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities is our Agency’s top priority, and we’re proud that Florida is one of the first states in the country to require this critical safety measure. Families must have the assurance that the facilities responsible for caring for their loved ones have the resources needed to be fully prepared ahead of any potential storms. These life-saving rules put safeguards in place and now, more than ever, facilities are prepared for an event that could knock out power. We will continue to do everything in our power to hold these important facilities accountable and strictly enforce these rules which include fines for facilities refusing to comply.”
AHCA is working with state and local officials to inspect the facilities that have implemented their emergency plan to ensure compliance. If a facility has not documented compliance, AHCA will issue fines and other penalties. The Agency is also actively working to bring every facility in Florida into compliance and hold those accountable that are not.
Pursuant to Florida law, a private business may seek a variance from any rule, given the business meets stringent requirements specific to that variance. While extensions are allowable under the rule, before one is approved by AHCA, the facility must provide a detailed explanation of how they will ensure patient protection during the extension timeframe. There are a variety of reasons a facility could request an extension, for example if they are waiting on the local emergency management officials to approve their plan, or if they are waiting on permits for construction or zoning. Extension details include how patient temperatures will remain safe during loss of power, such as how the facility will be cooled and evacuation plans if needed.
Examples of plans during the extension period include:
- Bringing a temporary generator onsite during power outages;
- Contracting for priority fuel replenishment during a power outage;
- Moving residents to common areas that can be cooled with an existing generator; and
- Evacuation if needed.
AHCA is tasked with regulating the state’s nursing homes and ALFs, which ensure that Florida’s most vulnerable populations are safe. These licensed facilities must comply with all rules including patient care standards, medication assistance and administration, and other life safety measures; the same compliance is expected for emergency power requirements. Inspections are ongoing to monitor compliance.
To easily see the status of compliance for nursing homes and assisted living facilities click here. This easy to use site allows you to see the status of implementation by facility, facility type and county.