As a result of Hurricane Irma, eight nursing home residents died after a power failure in a Hollywood, Florida nursing home. In the wake of that tragedy, on Sept. 18, 2017 Florida regulators published emergency rules requiring assisted living facilities and nursing homes to purchase generators to maintain power in the event of an electrical outage. The rules became effective on Sept. 16. These rules raise a number of questions, including whether the rules require cooling of entire buildings, and whether portable generators will satisfy the requirements. Nursing homes have 45 days from the effective date of the emergency rule to submit a plan to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration describing how they will comply, and 60 days to implement the plan. Assisted living facilities must submit their plans to the Department of Elder Affairs, and they have the same deadlines.

These rules come exactly one year after the publication of federal regulations regarding emergency preparedness requirements for Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers. Organizations must comply with those rules by Nov. 15, 2017.