Legislation signed earlier this year requires Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have backup power generators. However, new numbers show many facilities still aren't fully prepared.
- AHCA: Around 60 percent of plans for generators not yet approved by state
- Polk County: 64 providers, 74 percent of plans approved
- Orange County: 147 providers, 5 percent of plans approved
According to The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), the agency tasked with making sure facilities comply with the mandate, 99 percent of facilities met the June 1st deadline, though most only submitted plans asking for extensions.
Around sixty percent of those plans are not yet approved by the state.
“I suppose that maybe some facilities might not have the resources to do so," said Maria Phelan, administrator at Melbourne Terrace in Brevard County. "Our generator is able to meet the capacity of the new regulations."
Melbourne Terrace is a 129-bed facility which focuses on rehab, getting patients who have had strokes or respiratory problems home again.
“They get as much therapy as they can," Phelan said. “We’re here to focus on their medical care.”
While the rehab facility is in the midst of an expansion, and eventually will be able to welcome up to 157 patients at a time, they're also in the midst of hurricane season.
“During the storm last year, we actually did not even notice that the generator kicked on," said Phelan.
She said that the 100,000 square foot facility was able to keep lights on and machines humming, never losing power, thanks to their 350 kw generator. Installed in 2006, it's tested each Tuesday by the facility.
“It only functioned at 40 percent of the load, and we were able to have power to our entire facility," she said. “Our management company, Clear Choice, has put the resources into our facility already, so for us it’s just an expectation.”
Counties vary in compliance
AHCA’s expectation, as part of its mandate to ensure statewide compliance, is "that all assisted living facilities and nursing homes are actively planning for hurricane season and complying with the new rules ..." However, not every facility is ready.
Out of the almost 4,000 nursing homes and ALFs in the state of Florida, 42 percent have plans approved.
In Polk County, there are 64 providers and 74 percent of plans approved.
Compare that to Orange County's 147 providers and only 5 percent of plans approved. To view an interactive map showing the status of compliance for nursing homes and ALFs across the state, click HERE.
AHCA said that they're getting updates from the facilities each week, fielding thousands of emails and faxes.
Facilities can file an extension until January 1, 2019, if patient protections are in place.
In addition, the facilities which did not meet the June 1 deadline may be fined, or have their license suspended or revoked.