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Proposed legislation would protect nursing home residents

Nursing home regulations have come under scrutiny following the deaths of 14 residents of a Florida facility in Hollywood Hills in the wake of Hurricane Irma. U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is trying to do something on a federal level to help protect residents of nursing homes throughout the country.

Rep. Wasserman Schultz has announced plans to introduce legislation that would include a number of provisions. For example:

  1. Adding nursing homes to the lists of critical infrastructures that would require power restoration after storms.
  2. Requiring alternative energy sources that would provide air conditioning after a storm.
  3. Increase the amount of fines that could be assessed against facilities that don't comply with regulations.

The congresswoman said, "It's unbelievable that in the United States, things like that happened just because there's not enough laws enforcing nursing homes to act quickly."

She also addressed the situation in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria. Its power shortage has severely impacted its own nursing home residents. Some were airlifted to hospitals so that they could continue to receive the medical care they need.

However, hospitals are also having difficulty powering necessary equipment. Experts have given a grim statistic that as many as 10 percent of nursing home residents can be expected to die following a natural disaster.

Nursing homes in West Virginia and throughout the country have a duty of care to their residents at all times, even in the aftermath of storms and other acts of nature. Those who have a loved one who has suffered due to a lack of sufficient care can and should explore their legal options.

Source: WLRN, "Debbie Wasserman Schultz Promises Nursing Home Bill, Talks Puerto Rico," Catie Switalski, Oct. 23, 2017

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