On September 16, Governor Rick Scott directed the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) to issue anemergency rule requiring assisted living communities and nursing homes to obtain emergency generator power and fuel to support and sustain operations for at least 96 hours following a power loss, and to accomplish this within 60 days.
Our association has been working closely with the Governor’s office, AHCA, DOEA, our members and experts in the industry to address the complex logistical and safety issues in the emergency rule, particularly those related to the 60-day deadline for compliance. Unfortunately, we were unable to negotiate any extensions in the timeline with the Governor and his agencies; therefore, today we have filed a challenge to the rule with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings and will file one with the Florida District Court of Appeal on Monday.
This is not an issue about whether we believe certain measures are necessary to better protect residents. The senior living industry as a whole believes strongly in creating safe environments, including a requirement that every assisted living community have a generator to ensure the safety or its residents, during a natural disaster or other emergency situation. However, we believe the inadequate time presented to comply with the emergency rule presents potential safety hazards and is not in the best interests of residents residing in assisted living communities across the state of Florida.
Our association and its members remain committed to supporting the governor’s intentions, but to carry out his directive safely and effectively, additional clarity is needed and the timeline must be extended.