Florida congresswoman to propose new generator rules for nursing homes

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Long-term care providers would be required to install generators that can keep their air conditioning systems going for at least 96 hours under new legislation expected to be filed in the House this week.

The bill was spurred by the deaths of 14 residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, in Hollywood, FL, following Hurricane Irma, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said while announcing the proposal on Monday.

“I'm introducing legislation to protect our seniors because we can never allow the Hollywood nursing home tragedy to happen again,” Wasserman Schultz said on Twitter. Wasserman Schultz represents Florida's 23rd Congressional District, which includes Hollywood.

The legislation includes a similar generator requirement to the one included in an emergency mandate issued by Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) in late September. In addition to the generator provision, Wasserman Schultz's bill would formally require utility companies and first responders to make nursing homes a top priority for power restoration after hurricanes, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Wasserman Schultz's legislation would require more facility inspections and higher fines for violators, per earlier reports.

Similar rules have been proposed at the state and local levels in the wake of the tragedy, the Sentinel said. Pre-Irma attempts at bolstering emergency preparedness requirements in the state have failed, according to local reports.