Health care regulators say it will cost Florida nursing homes more than $186 million to comply with a requirement to install generators and have 96 hours of fuel to be able to cool their facilities.
The Agency for Health Care Administration published the estimated cost information this week after receiving a three-page letter from Joint Administrative Procedures Committee flagging potential problems with a proposed agency rule, initially published Nov. 14.
Florida law requires the agency to publish a summary of the estimated costs to comply with the regulations and to announce whether the rule would require legislative approval. Any rule that increases the costs of doing business by more than $200,000 in the aggregate requires legislative approval.
The November rule is meant to replace an emergency generator rule that Gov. Rick Scott's administration issued in September after the death of eight residents at The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills following Hurricane Irma.
The agency based its estimates on information provided from the nursing home industry, which said the costs for a generator at a 120-bed facility would be $315,200. Using those figures, AHCA estimated the average cost per bed at $2,626.66.
There are currently 683 nursing homes in Florida, but 102 already have generators and are in compliance with the requirements in the proposed rule. That leaves 581 facilities that would be affected by the requirements.
The Florida Health Care Association, a statewide nursing-home trade group, has repeatedly said it wants the state to help the facilities cover the costs of the generators with Medicaid funding. Also this week, the state estimated costs for assisted living facilities coming into compliance with the generator mandate at more than $280 million.
Tallying the costs for assisted living facilities and nursing homes shows that the proposed requirements would cost long-term care providers more than $465 million.
The Broward County nursing home residents died after the facility's air-conditioning system was knocked out by Hurricane Irma.