Lawsuits and legislation: 7 updates about the Florida nursing home where 8 residents died after Hurricane Irma

The deaths of eight residents at Hollywood, Fla.-based Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills prompted a series of proposed changes in state legislation and resulted in a lawsuit against the facility.

The nursing home residents died last week after spending days without electricity and air conditioning due to an electrical power failure at the rehabilitation center after Hurricane Irma made landfall in the state Sept. 10, ABC News reports.

Here are seven things to know about the rehabilitation center following the incident.

1. Hollywood-based Memorial Regional Hospital employees reportedly uncovered the situation unfolding at the nursing home after three patients arrived at the hospital with body temperatures as high as 106 degrees.

2. Federal regulators cited the facility twice, once in 2014 and once in 2016, for safety violations, according to STAT.

3. Officials from Florida Power & Light, which is responsible for providing electricity to the nursing home, and Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief told WMFE News the facility "was in the second tier of infrastructure," behind those deemed "critical" that are first in line to receive electricity in the event of a power outage or power failure.

4. A 94-year-old resident at the nursing home filed a lawsuit against the rehabilitation center Sept. 17, alleging the facility failed to adequately prepare for the storm despite numerous warnings issued for Broward County Sept. 7, ABC News reports.

"Notwithstanding these foreseeable, dangerous and life-threatening conditions, [the rehabilitation center] made no effort to relocate the elderly and vulnerable residents or to secure an adequate cooling system for the center," according to the lawsuit cited by the television station.

5. Following the tragedy, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, R, mandated all of the state's assisted living facilities and nursing homes have 60 days to obtain "ample resources," including a generator and fuel, to "sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures" for at least four days after a power failure, The New York Times reports. The Sept. 16 action also required a state fire marshal inspect generators within 15 days of installation.

6. A Florida state senator also filed legislation Sept. 15 requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have working generators, according to the NYT.

7. A federal rule, effective in November, will also require nursing homes to maintain "alternate sources of energy to maintain temperatures to protect resident health and safety," WMFE News reports. However, some critics argue the rule isn't strong enough because the language doesn't specify the type of generators.

 

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