Storm-ravaged nursing homes should be on electricity priority list, officials say

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Nursing homes currently are not a priority when it comes to power restoration in areas of Florida struck by recent violent storms. However, in the wake of Hurricane Frances, officials say nursing homes need to be added to Florida Power & Light's "essential customer" list, which includes hospitals.

After Hurricane Frances, which affected more nursing home residents than any other storm in Florida's history, many nursing homes were left to care for patients with inadequate power sources. In some instances, malls and grocery stores received power before nursing homes, according to administrators.

About 2,000 customers are ranked on the list currently. Nursing homes are not given priority because the state requires them to have alternative sources of power, such as generators.

The Florida Health Care Association will lobby for being placed higher on the priority list at the next legislative session, policy director LuMarie Polivka-West said.