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Many nursing homes are unprepared for catastrophes

October 10, 2017

Many of America’s roughly 15,600 nursing homes are unprepared for disasters like Hurricane Irma, which recently killed 14 elderly patients in South Florida after their rehab facility lost power, according to an article on the Huffington Post website.

“This could have happened anywhere,” Lori Smetanka, executive director of National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care said in the article. “It could have been any type of emergency or disaster.”

Federal regulators have cited at least 2,300 facilities for violations of emergency preparedness regulations in the past two years, according to a Kaiser Health News review of federal records. 

After Hurricane Katrina, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services recommended that federal regulators “specify” aspects of emergency preparedness plans, including how to transport residents to other facilities or hospitals in the event of an evacuation. Federal regulations now require nursing homes to account for transportation options in their disaster plans.

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