Court Backs State’s Decision To Close Rehab Facility After Deaths

Hurricane Irma was last year, but the nursing home that lost power and air conditioning and subsequently caused the death of several residents is still making news. The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills caused Governor Rick Scott to enact emergency laws requiring nursing homes to have generators capable of powering air conditioning units for 96 hours should they lose power. Now, the facility is fighting to remain open, despite a moratorium on admitting new Medicare patients. CBS 12 reports on a court case that has backed the state’s decision to close the facility.

Governor Rick Scott’s administration’s move to shutter the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills was backed by a state appeals court on Wednesday.

A three-judge panel upheld the decision. The 1st District Court of Appeals upheld the decision in a 15-page ruling which presented challenges to the decision made by the Agency for Health Care Administration which suspended the facility’s license to operate. The facility’s ability to participate in the Medicaid program was also suspended. Additionally, a moratorium on accepting new Medicaid patients was also put into place.

These rulings were made in the wake of 12 deaths following a power outage caused by Hurricane Irma last year. Four of the 12 residents died soon after being evacuated to the hospital across the street. The residents had temperatures of between 107 and 109.9 degrees. To complicate matters, facility staff members went back and doctored entries into patient logs that indicated the evacuated patients had normal temperatures when they were already dead or dying in the hospital.

The court further ruled that appealing the moratorium on receiving Medicaid patients was moot because the facility’s license to operate had been suspended.