Ga. waits on feds to improve lax nursing home rules after Fla. deaths

7:00 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 Atlanta News
President Donald Trump receives a briefing from Gov. Rick Scott on Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Ft. Myers, Fla., Sept. 14, 2017. Eleven elderly people died from heat-related causes after their nursing home lost power. DOUG MILLS / THE NEW YORK TIMES

Officials in Florida moved quickly to tighten regulations on nursing homes and assisted living facilities following the heat-related deaths of 11 senior citizens in the power outage caused by Hurricane Irma.

But in Georgia, where regulations on emergency power generators in senior facilities are just as lax, officials are waiting for federal regulations to go into effect. But even the new federal rules are not as tough as the new measures instituted in Florida.

The Georgia Health Care Association, the lobbying group that represents nursing homes and assisted living facilities, is a powerful voice at the State Capitol. Devon Bacon, spokeswoman for the group, took a cautious approach to new regulations.

The organization is “supportive of any proposal designed to improve the security and care of nursing center residents, including a proposal to increase generator access,” she said.

But she said any specific proposal needed careful attention “to ensure its implementation would not negatively impact the resources available to provide care on a daily basis.”

What does Georgia require of nursing homes when the power goes out? Find out in this week’s AJC Watchdog column here. 

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