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What They’re Saying: Rick Scott Failed FL’s Seniors

On Friday, an investigation by CBS Miami revealed that nursing home administrators called Governor Rick Scott’s cell phone three times asking for immediate assistance in the hours before the tragic deaths of eight senior citizens — and their calls for help went unanswered.

The story follows additional reporting by Bay News 9, detailing how Governor Scott has weakened nursing home regulations and ousted Long-term Care Ombudsman Brian Lee who was working to hold the industry accountable.

Here’s what they’re saying:

CBS Miami: Nursing Home Execs Called Gov. Rick Scott’s Cell Asking For Help Getting Power Back.
By Jim Defede
September 15, 2017 

Key points:

  • “In the week leading up to Irma, Gov. Scott held a series of conference calls with emergency managers as well as hospital and nursing home officials. During those conference calls he gave out a cell phone number and said if any of the healthcare centers experienced trouble they should call him at that number and he would work to resolve their problem.”
  • “In the 36 hours prior to the first patient dying at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, nursing home executives called Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s cell phone asking for help getting their power back on after Hurricane Irma, CBS4 News has learned. Eight people would eventually die from the facility that lost air conditioning during the storm.”
  • “Repeated phone calls to FPL brought more promises that went unmet from the utility to come out and repair the power line, according to nursing home officials. Growing concerned, Anderson placed two more calls to what she believed was the Governor’s cell phone – one call at 9:59 a.m. and another at 12:41 p.m.”

Bay News 9: South Florida deaths propel calls for revision of state nursing home regulations.
Troy Kinsey
September 14, 2017 

Key Points:

  • “The Scott administration contends that, because AHCA wasn’t informed, there was nothing the agency could have done to intervene. The day before the deaths, however, the governor told reporters at the State Emergency Operations Center that officials were in close contact with each of Florida’s assisted living facilities.”
  • “‘State lawmakers on Thursday called for a criminal investigation, accompanied by a reversal of years of industry deregulation under Gov. Rick Scott and the legislature’s Republican leaders.”
  • “Some pointed to Scott’s 2011 ouster of Long-term Care Ombudsman Brian Lee – an official widely viewed as having been tough on the industry while standing up for the interests of patients – as the start of a relatively hands-off era of treatment of nursing homes by the Scott administration.”

New York Times: Pleas for Help at Florida Nursing Home Where Heat Took Lives. “Natasha Anderson, the chief executive of Larkin Community Hospital Behavioral Health Services, which shares a building with the nursing home, said she had called Gov. Rick Scott’s cellphone on Monday evening and left a voice mail message about the air-conditioning issue at the home. ‘I said it was urgent,’ she said, adding that she had not been able to speak to Mr. Scott.”

Sun-Sentinel: Nursing home where eight died claims requests for help were ignored. “The Hollywood nursing home where eight died in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma claimed Friday that Gov. Scott and several state agencies didn’t respond to pleas for help and that Florida Power & Light failed to show up four times to fix the electricity.”

New York Post: Florida nursing home: Gov. Scott ignored our distress calls. “Officials at the Florida nursing home where eight residents died in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma reportedly called Gov. Rick Scott for assistance hours before the first death, but help never arrived.”

The Washington Post: Fla. nursing home where eight died after Irma defends actions, says it called governor for help.  “Natasha Anderson, one of the executives, called a private phone number for Gov. Rick Scott (R) seeking urgent help, Anderson said. It was the first of three such calls, she said, to a number that officials confirmed Scott gave out to nursing homes as an emergency backup in planning calls before the storm. ‘Repeatedly, I was told that our case was being escalated to the highest level,’ Anderson said. Yet, she said, no one came”

ABC News: Florida nursing home called emergency cellphone belonging to governor’s office for help. “An emergency cellphone assigned to the office of Florida Gov. Rick Scott was called by nursing home officials at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills asking for assistance, the governor’s office confirmed to ABC News Friday.”

Tampa Bay Times: Report: Nursing home where 8 died asked Scott for “immediate assistance.” “CBS 4 Miami reported Friday afternoon that officials from a Hollywood, Florida nursing home requested “immediate assistance” from Gov. Rick Scott a day and a half before eight members of the nursing home died.”

Sunshine State News: Nursing Home Says It Contacted Scott ‘Multiple Times’ Before Patients Died. “The Hollywood nursing home where eight people died after Hurricane Irma says it tried to call Gov. Rick Scott’s office three times before the first death at the facility, the latest in finger-pointing at the governor and the state’s largest electricity provider, Florida Power & Light.”

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