“Many of America’s roughly 15,600 nursing homes are unprepared for disasters like Hurricane Irma, which recently killed 11 elderly patients in South Florida after the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills lost power.” The Huffington Post had a great article explaining why the tragic disaster that occurred at a Florida nursing home can happen anyway.
The problem starts with inadequate staffing, an issue that plagues most of the industry. Roughly half of American nursing homes are understaffed compared to expert recommendations, and at least a quarter are considered “dangerously” low-staffed, according to a 2016 review of studies into the issue.
“Federal regulators have cited at least 2,300 facilities for violations of emergency preparedness regulations in the past two years alone, according to a Kaiser Health News review of federal records.”
“Efforts to improve the way nursing homes prepare for emergencies have at times run into opposition from an industry concerned with the cost of new regulations. Industry lobbyists, for instance, successfully derailed a 2006 Florida bill that could have forced nursing homes to have generators on-site. A 2015 federal proposal to increase staffing requirements died thanks to similar opposition.”
Nursing home industry lobbyist LeadingAge Florida is challenging Gov. Rick Scott’s order to install generators at the facilities after this most recent tragedy.