Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to have an emergency plan and a backup power source to maintain air conditioning for 72 hours.
CLEARWATER, FL – For the past five years, there has been pressure to make nursing homes and assisted living a lot safer during and after the storm. 14 people in South Florida died of heat-related illnesses when air conditioning was cut off during Hurricane Irma.
The state was keeping tabs of facilities that had a generator and a contingency plan. Under a Florida law passed in 2018, utilities are required to have a contingency plan and a backup power source to maintain air conditioning for 72 hours.
During an online check, 10 investigators found that the Health Care Administration Agency (AHCA) listed 17 facilities in Florida with generator shortages — one of which was in Pasco County. Trinity Sunflower CEO Christopher Hyland told 10 investigators it wasn’t clear why the state put them on that list.
“We just did a survey every two years from the AHCA and they reviewed the generator at length and we had no mark on the generator and they renewed our license for the next two years,” Hyland explained.
Across Florida, nine facilities are listed as not in full compliance on the AHCA website. Five of those were in the Bay Area—one in each of these communities: Clearwater, St. Pete, Spring Hill, Riverview, and Wesley Chapel.
Skycrest Place in Clearwater was one of those sites. The owners, Sireh and Stephen Wake, say the facility has only been open for a few months, and while they submitted the plan for approval, they have yet to receive word of approval.
Sirah says she’s already called the city asking why and it appears to be a paper issue – something she hopes will be fixed soon.
“We were surprised because before the company opened, and months before we opened, we had all the documents and the contingency plan in place, and I don’t know what’s going on,” Sarieh said.
Over the years, more facilities have become compatible. When 10 investigators were examined in August 2019, there were 70 assisted living facilities and nursing homes in the Tampa Bay area that were not compliant.
Back in June 2020, 10 investigators found four facilities in the state that did not contain the required generators. Three of them were in the Bay Area—one in Hardy County, Hillsborough County, and one in Sarasota County.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living, you can check for compliance on the AHCA website.