Boynton Beach says Assisted Living Facilities need backup power – new legislation expected

Nursing Home South Florida

Last month’s horrendous scene at a Hollywood nursing home which resulted in 14 deaths from overheating, has led cities and states to push for better regulations.

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is scheduled to introduce new legislation this week.

Locally, Boynton Beach City Commissioners have issued a condition for a new assisted living facility proposed for a Congress Avenue location – it must have enough backup generators to power the entire building during loss of electrical power.

Boca Raton is also considering similar requirements, making nursing homes and assisted living facilities provide and maintain enough backup generators and fuel to power the entire structure for a minimum of 4 days in the case of a power outage.

The cities’ plans and concerns come after a tragic loss of life following Hurricane Irma. An assisted living facility in Hollywood did not have the means to cool their building and residents during the extended power outage, resulting in an extremely warm building and overheated residents.

Among the deceased, some body temperatures were as high as 109.9 degrees Fahrenheit. To date, 14 residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills have died as a result of the post-hurricane conditions.

The terrible loss in Hollywood has prompted lawmakers at both the state and federal level to ask for changes in policy, such as generator requirements.

The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills had its licence suspended by the State of Florida and laid off its 245 employees.

Last week, legislators held a congressional field hearing at Miami-Dade College, searching for feedback to help construct legislation that would offer protection to the most vulnerable of citizens.

According to a press release, Democratic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is expected to introduce legislation as early as today, mandating that care facilities have an alternate source of energy in place. The source must be capable of powering the facility for up to 96 hours after a natural disaster.

The legislation will also move nursing homes to a top priority for power restoration after an outage, furthermore, it will increase fines for facilities that do not comply with the emergency preparedness rules.

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