Bilirakis: State Health Department Should Use Federal Money for Emergency Preparedness
The money could be used to help nursing homes and assisted living facilities to buy generators, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis said.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs, said Florida should use federal funds to help nursing homes and assisted living facilities be better prepared for hurricanes and other emergencies.
Bilirakis made his suggestion last week in a letter to the Florida Department of Health. He repeated the idea to the assistant secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services during a hearing Tuesday (Oct 24) to examine public health preparedness for the 2017 hurricane season.
Bilirakis noted that Florida Gov. Rick Scott has implemented an emergency rule requiring all ALFs and nursing homes to make sure they have ample resources, including a generator and the appropriate amount of fuel, to sustain operations and maintain comfortable temperatures for at least 96-hours following power failure. Scott’s order was issued after 14 elderly residents at the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills died because of lack of air conditioning.
While larger facilities should be able to comply with Scott’s order, those with fewer than 10 residents have expressed concern that ongoing compliance – purchasing of sufficient generator, fuel and maintenance costs – will be extremely difficult. Bilirakis said that using the $12 million in Hospital Preparedness Program federal funding the Health Department has received this year could be used to help smaller nursing homes and ALFs comply with the order by defraying some of the costs.
“The recent hurricane created a public health emergency and it is important that we use these funds to prevent this type of situation from occurring again,” Bilirakis wrote in the letter.
Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes north Pinellas and Pasco counties.
For information about Bilirakis, go to bilirakis.house.gov..
Gus Bilirakis | Emergency Preparedness | Nursing Homes | Tampabay News | TB Reporter
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