Florida lawyers who handle Florida nursing home abuse claims, Florida nursing home neglect claims, and Florida nursing home negligence claims are gearing up to assist Florida nursing home residents who suffer serious injuries or death as a result of Hurricane Irma’s impact in the Sunshine State. Failure to prepare for the hurricane, or failure to provide for nursing home residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, may expose Florida nursing home operators to nursing home claims for unnecessary harm suffered by vulnerable residents.
According to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, there are 683 nursing homes in Florida that supply over 84,000 beds to nursing home residents in the State of Florida.
Florida law requires that “Each nursing home licensee must have a written plan with procedures to be followed in the event of an internal or externally caused disaster. The initiation, development, and maintenance of this plan is the responsibility of the facility administrator, and must be accomplished in consultation with the Division of Emergency Management, County Emergency Management Agency.” Source
Federal law requires that nursing homes “provide a safe, functional, sanitary, and comfortable environment for the residents, staff and the public. The facility must – (1) Establish procedures to ensure that water is available to essential areas when there is a loss of normal water supply; (2) Have adequate outside ventilation by means of windows, or mechanical ventilation, or a combination of the two;” Source
It has been reported in recent days that some Florida nursing home residents impacted by Hurricane Irma suffered egregious harm from lack of basic services in the days after Hurricane Irma. CNN reported on September 13, 2017 that eight residents of a Hollywood, Florida nursing home have died since Hurricane Irma struck, which may be due to the loss of the nursing home’s air conditioning when the power failed. First responders evacuated 115 residents from the nursing home, some of whom were having problems breathing and were in critical condition.Source
Nursing homes in Florida and in other U.S. states are required to be in compliance with the requirements in 42 CFR Part 483, Subpart B, to receive payment under the Medicare or Medicaid programs. Nursing homes are required by federal regulations to: “establish and maintain an emergency preparedness program that meets the requirements of this section. The emergency preparedness program must include, but not be limited to, the following elements: … At a minimum, the policies and procedures must address the following: (1) The provision of subsistence needs for staff and residents, whether they evacuate or shelter in place, include, but are not limited to the following: (i) Food, water, medical, and pharmaceutical supplies. (ii) Alternate sources of energy to maintain – (A) Temperatures to protect resident health and safety and for the safe and sanitary storage of provisions; (B) Emergency lighting; (C) Fire detection, extinguishing, and alarm systems; and (D) Sewage and waste disposal.” Source
While Florida nursing homes may not have anticipated that Hurricane Irma would affect them, or the extent of the effects that Hurricane Irma would have on their operations, federal regulations require that nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid patients (almost all of them do) plan for such events so that their residents may be safe after these events occur.
No one should die because a nursing home in Florida, or elsewhere, failed to properly plan for the loss of electrical power, running water, or other essential services that are necessary for the safety and comfort of Florida nursing home residents who must rely on others (the nursing home operators and staff) for their safety and well-being.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Florida due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, nursing home understaffing, or resident on resident abuse, you should promptly contact a Florida nursing home claim attorney who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
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