Assisted living tab for generators in Florida will be $280 million, officials say

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A proposed rule requiring the 3,111 assisted living communities in Florida to install generators will cost operators more than $280 million, the state Department of Elder Affairs said Wednesday.

Costs for individual facilities will range from $12,280 to $550,000, depending on the size of the facility, the department said.

Because the rule collectively would increase the cost of doing business by more than $200,000 in the aggregate, it will require ratification by the state legislature, the agency said. The Department of Elder Affairs, which issued the rule that covers assisted living communities Nov. 14 at the direction of Gov. Rick Scott, published the estimate in the Florida Administrative Register.

In September, Scott had issued a similar emergency rule following the deaths of eight residents of a Hollywood, FL, rehabilitation facility after a power outage related to Hurricane Irma knocked out the facility's air conditioning. Six additional residents of the facility later died. The Broward County medical examiner ruled last week that 12 of the deaths were homicides caused by environmental heat exposure.

The emergency rule gave operators 60 days to obtain generators and enough fuel to enable them “to sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures” for at least 96 hours following a power outage. LeadingAge Florida, Florida Argentum (recently renamed the Florida Senior Living Association) and the Florida Assisted Living Association are challenging the emergency rule in court, citing a need for more time to comply.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which issued similar rules covering nursing homes in the state, said Tuesday that its permanent rule would cost providers $186 million more than what they already have spent to comply with the emergency rule.

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