Florida nursing home agencies have been called upon to cooperate in an effort to properly equip residential facilities to handle emergency situations like the recent hurricanes. 

The call from the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), was made following a legal challenge to the government directives, which found them to be invalid. 

The FHCA is asking the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and Department of Elder Affairs (DEA) to come to the negotiating table to make nursing homes safer for seniors. 

“Florida Health Care Association shares the same goal as the governor that nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ALFs) have a generator that ensures their residents are safe and have a cool place during a disaster,” FHCA spokeswoman Kristen Knapp, told the Florida Record.

However, Knapp said the group was at odds with state officials about the way the work is to be done.

“Nearly 4,000 nursing centers and ALFs must properly determine, purchase and install permanent generators - along with a 96-hour supply of fuel - by Nov. 15,” she said. 

“On average, it takes between six months and two years to complete the process of construction and permitting for generator installation. Eliminating residents’ risk of heat injuries should not be solved by putting them at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or fire resulting from work that is rushed or unsafe.”

Hence, the call for cooperation.

“Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) believes a thoughtful process that brings everyone to the table regarding nursing home and assisted living facility (ALF) Emergency Power Plan Rules will produce the best solution and ensure that resident safety remains the top priority during emergency situations,” stated a letter addressed to the agencies from FHCA Executive Director J. Emmett Reed.

The FHCA represents 82 percent of Florida’s nursing homes and 70 ALFs, according to the letter.

“FHCA is asking all parties to use the administrative law judge’s ruling to reset the discussion, exit the courtroom and come to the negotiation table to strengthen resident-focused procedures for facilities’ emergency power plans,” Knapp said.

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