Florida Argentum has asked the state’s First District Court of Appeal to issue a temporary injunction against Gov. Rick Scott’s emergency rule, which sets a Nov. 15 deadline for all assisted living communities and nursing homes in the Sunshine State to obtain generators and enough fuel to enable them “to sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures” for at least four days after a power outage.
“This is not an issue about whether we believe certain measures are necessary to better protect residents,” Gail Matillo, president and CEO of the organization, told McKnight’s Senior Living. “Our association and its members remain committed to supporting the governor’s intentions, but to carry out his directive safely and effectively, additional clarity is needed, and the timeline must be extended.”
Monday, a judge consolidated Florida Argentum’s challenge with those of the Florida Assisted Living Association and LeadingAge Florida and set a hearing for Oct. 12 and 13. A spokeswoman for the Florida Health Care Association told McKnight’s Senior Living that it plans to work with the state legislature and administration on solutions related to provider emergency power plans.
A court date regarding Florida Argentum’s injunction petition has not been set.
Scott ordered the emergency rule Sept. 16 following the deaths of eight residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, Hollywood, FL, who died after a power outage related to Hurricane Irma knocked out the facility’s air conditioning. Since then, four additional residents of the facility have died, and the state has taken actions to close an assisted living community, Floridian Gardens, owned by the same company.
Florida Argentum’s newly filed petition would put on hold implementation of the rule.
“Our greatest concern is that this deadline will either force rushed — and potentially unsafe — solutions or will put an unimaginable financial burden on communities as they work toward compliance while being fined $1,000 per day past Nov. 15,” Florida Argentum said in a letter to members.
Under the rule, noncompliant facilities also risk losing their licenses in addition to being fined.
Florida Argentum, the state affiliate of the national Argentum organization, said its membership includes more than 400 assisted living, memory care and independent living communities.