Wednesday, December 6, 2017
There have been a spate of articles of late regarding various issues surrounding nursing homes, and to some extent ALFs, arising from the hurricanes that hit Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas this past summer. For example, Health News Florida reported that ALFs in Florida were facing a whopping $280 million for generators, Assisted Living Facilities Face $280 Million Tab For Generators resulted from a cost estimate from Florida's Department of Elder Affairs, which "published a summary of the estimated regulatory costs on Wednesday after it received a three-page letter from the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee flagging potential problems with the proposed rule, initially published on Nov. 14. The estimated costs were published in the Florida Administrative Register." The Florida Governor had issued an emergency rule shortly after Irma and the agency has now released a permanent rule to replace the emergency rule. It looks as though there are over 4,500 ALFs in Florida, so it's understandable how the cost of compliance would reach that estimate.
Meanwhile, Health News Florida was also reporting that the cost of generators for nursing homes is less than that estimate for ALFs but still high-$186 million high. Nursing Home Generator Costs Estimated At $186 Million explains this figure, again an estimate, again resulted from the new rule with the total based on "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, [the Florida Agency] estimated the average cost per bed at $2,626.66."
Then there's the story about the plan to recycle Rx meds from Pro Publica that Health News Florida picked up, More States Hatch Plans to Recycle Drugs Being Wasted in Nursing Homes explains "how the nursing home industry dispenses medication a month at a time, but then is forced to destroy it after patients pass away, stop using it or move out. Some send the drugs to massive regional incinerators or flush them down the toilet, creating environmental concerns." Although there are a few programs to "recycle", most of the time leftover drugs are destroyed, some by flushing and others by incinerating. Although in many states, donations of drugs is possible, the story explains "[m]any states ... don’t have programs that get the drugs safely from nursing homes to those who need them."