Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) scored a victory over senior living providers when an appellate court Thursday rejected their challenge to emergency rules requiring generator installations. The court did not immediately explain the reasoning behind its 2-1 decision.
Industry officials unsuccessfully called on the court to review whether the state had exceeded its authority. The new mandate requires generator installations with 60 days.
The emergency rule came after more than a dozen residents died of heat-related causes at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. Their deaths were attributed to a power outage caused by Hurricane Irma that made the community’s air conditioning system inoperable.
In challenging the new requirement, attorneys argued that Florida’s “specific reasons for finding an immediate danger to the public health, safety or welfare, upon which the emergency rules are based, are insufficient to justify emergency rule making.”
In a rebuke, the governor’s office issued a statement saying operators should be “protecting the lives of their patients.” The Scott administration added it plans to use a public-rule making process to make the temporary rule permanent.
Many operators insist they will be unable to comply with the backup power mandate. By Friday, nearly 150 variance requests had been sought by assisted living and skilled care operators.