By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On October 12, 2017, federal health officials announced they are dropping a Florida nursing home from the Medicare program after 14 patients died allegedly as a result of the Hurricane Irma emergency. On Sept. 13, 2017, eight residents died and the others were evacuated from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills after the facility lost air conditioning. Six more have since died, which attorneys say was a result of the conditions and evacuations immediately after the storm.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said in a statement that the facility will be terminated “due to their [sic] failure to meet Medicare’s basic health and safety requirements.” CMS also imposed a penalty of $20,965 a day for the three days that Hollywood Hills lost power to its air conditioning unit.
Under the CMS sanctions, Medicare will continue to pay the Hollywood Hills center through November 12, 2017, for any care that was provided to residents before the evacuation and closure.
This incident is what allegedly prompted Florida Governor Rick Scott to impose emergency rules requiring all nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Florida (over 3,000 facilities) to have emergency power generators and fuel installed within 60 days to keep their residents air conditioned for up to 96 hours during a power failure. To read more on the emergency rule, click here.
Despite all this, the rehabilitation center has not given up hope on reopening. A spokeswoman for Hollywood Hills said they’ll appeal the decision and look forward to showing evidence that their actions were consistent with all state and federal rules.
To learn more about CMS’s authority to suspend or terminate Medicare to providers, click here to read one of my prior blogs.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late; Consult with a Health Law Attorney Experienced in Medicare and Medicaid Issues Now.
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We also represent physicians, medical groups, pharmacies. health facilities and therapists in notices of termination of Medicare billing privileges, corrective action plans (CAPs), OIG exclusion hearings, Medicaid hearings and applications for removal from the List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE).
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Chang, Daniel. “Feds to cut Medicare for Hollywood Hills nursing home after residents died.” Miami Herald. (October 12, 2017). Web.
“Florida nursing home where 14 died cut from Medicare program.” Associated Press. (October 12, 2017). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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