A Florida-based residential operator is forecasting the closure of several assisted-living communities if the state healthcare agency promotes plans to punish assisted living communities and nursing homes that are not compliant with Sunshine State emergency plans by the end of the year.
A federation, which represents the offerers, communicated however this McKnight's Senior Living that acts of the state authority may be justified against communities that have not made good faith efforts to comply with the rule. Another association pointed out that a non-compliance status does not necessarily mean that an approved emergency plan does not exist in a facility.
Jen Brown, who according to WKMG News 6 / ClickOrlando.com operates three assisted living facilities in the Sunshine State, said that AHCA's potential practice is "scary" as residents may be forced to quickly find new homes.
However, AHCA secretary Mary Mayhew told the media representatives that operators were aware of the need to comply with the emergency plan regulations that came into effect in March 2018, after twelve long-term residents died as a result of the environmental impact of the year In 2017, when a power outage related to Hurricane Irma turned off the air conditioning of their facility. The regulations – one for assisted living communities and one for nursing homes – provide for long-term care facilities that have generators and enough fuel to allow the facilities to "maintain operation and maintain comfortable temperatures".
The rules provide for existing institutions to implement their plans by 1 June 2018 – or until 1 January 2019, when granted an extension.
"I have strong communication with the nursing homes and supportive housing that I am reluctant to extend beyond the end of this year," Mayhew said. "We will absolutely oppose their license if we can prove that they have not made good-faith efforts to comply with this law."
Potential measures that could be taken against entities include the denial, revocation or suspension of licenses. This is clear from a November 25 message sent by AHCA to some operators. Facilities could also be fined $ 500 per offense per day, the letter said.
In some cases such a procedure would be justified, according to LeadingAge Florida.
"At this time, AHCA's enforcement efforts may be justified if a community has not tried to follow the rules in good faith," said Susan Anderson, LeadingAge Florida Public Order Manager McKnight's Senior Living, "LeadingAge Florida continues to support and support senior care providers who promote quality care and safety for local residents."
According to Mayhew, several long-term care facilities have already been fined. In addition, three licenses for assisted living facilities were denied and 280 assisted living facilities were penalized for non-compliance, according to the agency.
AHCA data shows that as of December 3, around 94% of the 1,457 state-licensed assisted living facilities had state approved and implemented emergency plans. One percent had applied for or granted discrepancies, giving them extra time to comply. The remaining 5% of the installations either had plans that were not approved or implemented, had not requested deviations or had deviations that had expired.
According to the Florida Senior Living Association, a formal status of non-compliance does not necessarily mean that an institution does not have an approved and implemented emergency plan, even though the majority of assisted-living members comply with the rule.
"It's a complex rule," said Lee Ann Griffin, FSLA's Director of Regulation and Education McKnight's Senior Living.
The RUs have eight multipoint components, and facilities that do not meet the specifications of all eight components would be considered non-compliant. According to Griffin, in addition to writing, submitting, obtaining approval and implementing an emergency environmental control plan, each facility must provide written evidence of approval of its plan to the AHCA by the local emergency management agency within two hours. The facilities must also provide AHCA with a "consumer friendly Summary of the plan for publication on the Agency's website.
FLSA has worked with all members to ensure regulatory compliance, said President and CEO Gail Matillo. Six members who had received a notice of non-compliance on 25 November were given 10 days from receipt of the notice to respond.