Every week NextGen Injury Law will be providing breaking news about nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Florida.
Leading off this week’s news is the tragic story of the wrongful death of 11 residents due to nursing home neglect at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills LLC in Broward County, Florida.
REHAB CENTER AT HOLLYWOOD HILLS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
What Happened: Following Hurricane Irma, the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills LLC lost power which caused residents to not have air conditioning. The lack of air conditioning caused residents to overheat. As a result, 11 residents have died and the victims had temperatures over 108 degrees. Shockingly, a hospital was directly next to the nursing home but these vulnerable residents were not taken to the hospital.
What is being done about it: The State of Florida has suspended the license of this facility. Additionally, the Hollywood Police Department is investigating whether criminal charges can be filed against the Nursing Home’s employees for allowing these vulnerable residents to pass away. Criminal charges will depend on whether the nursing home employees made honest mistakes or were “culpably negligent” which is defined as “consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily injury.” Additionally, wrongful death nursing home lawsuits are being filed against the facility.
What does the Nursing Home have to say: The facility owners and administrator claim they complied with its “emergency preparedness plan” and that they tried cooling down these patients by placing them in a room with fans. Additionally, the Nursing Home has filed a lawsuit to allow them to continue to operate their facility. They are claiming that the State of Florida and the governor illegally suspended their license which prevented them from accepting new patients and collecting Medicaid money.
Long-Term Impact: Governor Rick Scott has issued an emergency order that nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida are required to get back up generators by November 15, 2017. If they do not, they will face fines which the state health care regulator plans on “aggressively” pursuing against the facilities. Additionally, state and national politicians are moving to pass laws requiring Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities to be more prepared for emergencies, including hurricanes. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are advocating for a “National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters.”
HIDING EVIDENCE: AHCA UNDER FIRE
The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has come under fire for not giving full transparency of nursing home violations. News outlets are giving proper attention to the fact that public information about nursing homes is lacking as the government redacts key words and information to deprive people from understanding what happened to residents. The lack of transparency is a big reason why NextGen Injury Law publishes Safety Scores about Nursing Homes in South Florida. The Nursing Home Safety Scores provide the public with information about lawsuits, reviews, and ratings of nursing homes in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade County.
POLITICIANS VISIT ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES
Representative Emily Slosberg paid visits to more than 65 Assisted Living Facilities in South Palm Beach County to check to make sure no residents were without power. She also plans on conducting a “roundtable” discussion in Delray Beach about emergency preparedness for nursing home and assisted living facilities.