On March 26, Governor Rick Scott signed HB 7099 and SB 7028, which make permanent the emergency rules requiring every nursing center and assisted living facility (ALF) in Florida to have emergency generators to keep residents safe.
Governor Scott said, “Florida is one of the first states in the nation to require emergency generators at nursing homes and ALFs, and I appreciate the work of Senate President Joe Negron, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, and all the legislators who supported this important legislation. As we near the 2018 hurricane season, families can now know the facilities responsible for caring for their loved ones will have the resources needed to be fully prepared ahead of any potential storms.”
The bill signing ceremony took place at Calusa Harbour, an FHCA member continuing care community in Ft. Myers. Executive Director Bill Brewster hosted the Governor and other key dignitaries, including Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Justin Senior and Deputy Secretary Molly McKinstry. Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) Executive Director Emmett Reed also took part in the event, recognizing the team at Calusa Harbour as well as member centers across the state for their role during Hurricane Irma to keep residents safe.
“Emergency preparedness in our state’s long term care centers is a continuous process, and for all of us, the goal is always to put the safety and comfort of our residents first,” said Emmett Reed, FHCA Executive Director. “Governor Scott has shown tremendous leadership in ensuring that our state’s seniors are a priority. This legislation is another important step to strengthen our centers’ emergency procedures so they remain resident-focused.”
The nursing home rule (59A-4.1265) requires facilities to have alternative power sources, such as generators, that can keep temperatures at 81 degrees for at least 96 hours. Areas cooled must be the equivalent of 30 square feet per resident. Also, nursing centers must keep 72 hours of fuel on site.
Assisted living facilities have similar requirements (Rule 58A-5.036); however, for planning purposes, no less than 20 net square feet per resident must be provided. For ALFs, the 72-hour onsite fuel requirement is mandated for facilities with 17 beds or more.
Nursing centers and ALFs must comply by June 1, the start of the 2018 hurricane season. To learn more about the nursing center and ALF rules, visit the Emergency Preparedness session of FHCA’s website at www.fhca.org.