What happens in Tallahassee does NOT Stay in Tallahassee

Why Florida’s Long-Term Care Generator Law Matters to You

After the nursing home tragedy in Hollywood Hills, Florida that followed Hurricane Irma, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued an emergency regulation. This will require all long-term care cebters in Florida to install generators capable of maintaining a temperature of at least 80F – for 96 hours without outside electrical power. The deadline for compliance is 60 days.
Florida’s two leading state associations that represent long-term care – LeadingAge Florida and Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) – announced a joint “Emergency Preparedness Summit” for Friday, just days after the governor’s edict. CPR’s Rick Christ traveled to Tallahassee to participate in the summit.
It’s safe to say that there were a lot of takeaways from this event. We’re presenting them to you in a three-part series.
This is the third preparedness upheaval in Florida this year:
  1. Long-term care and all other Medicare/Medicaid providers have been gearing up to meet new Medicare emergency preparedness requirements which go into effect November 15.
  2. Hurricane Irma swept through almost the entire state, and by most accounts, Florida’s health care industry handled it well.
  3. Now, the emergency generator order would impose expensive requirements and an unrealistic deadline – an assessment presented by all the experts who testified at the summit. (We agree!)
This is important to you, even if you’re not a long-term care facility, even if you’re not in Florida:
  1. Even before the summit, federal legislators quickly convened a hearing in Washington, DC on the same issue, and debated the value of similar regulations at the federal level.
  2. Community Health Accreditation Partner(CHAP), an accreditation agency focusing on home health and hospice agencies, has rolled the CMS requirements into their own accreditation standards.
  3. But Florida’s regulatory threat may be the most concerning on a nationwide level. Florida has the nation’s largest elderly population. They know they are a highly desirable retirement location, and they want to lead the nation in eldercare. What happens in Florida is very likely to go viral through the other 49 state legislatures, mutating as each ambitious legislator puts their personal stamp on it.
It’s important to understand the progressive roles LeadingAge Florida and FHCA are playing in this conversation. The former represents nonprofit long-term care facilities and the latter advocates for privately owned entities. They put whatever legislative differences they have aside, and within one day of the governor’s announcement came up with a plan. When they announced their full-day event, complete with an all-star lineup of speakers, to be held at The Stadium Club at Florida State Doak Campbell Stadium, the community took notice. Not only was the event free, but a box lunch was also included for all attendees.
The primary lesson learned: When healthcare facilities find themselves in unfamiliar territory, they should realize (a) they’re not alone; and (b) their state associations are a powerful resource.
Read more on parts two and three.
Categories: Healthcare
Topics: Florida, LTC

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