NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
Moving forward with an administrative law judge’s recommendation, the state Agency for Health Care Administration has issued a final order to revoke the license of a Broward County nursing home where residents died after Hurricane Irma in 2017.
The agency issued the 17-page order on Jan. 4 against the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. Gov. Rick Scott’s administration in 2017 moved to revoke the license, but the nursing home challenged the decision in the state Division of Administrative Hearings.
Judge Mary Li Creasy on Nov 30 issued a recommended order that supported the revocation. But under administrative law, the issue had to go back to Scott’s Agency for Health Care Administration for a final order.
The dispute stemmed from the September 2017 hurricane, which knocked out the nursing home’s air-conditioning system for three days.
Authorities have attributed as many as 12 deaths to sweltering conditions at the facility, though Creasy wrote that “clear and convincing evidence” was presented during the case that nine of the 12 residents “suffered greatly from the exposure to unsafe heat in the facility.”
The deaths and evacuation of the Broward nursing home drew national attention in the days after Hurricane Irma, which made landfall Sept. 10, 2017 in Monroe and Collier counties and caused damage through much of the state.
The nursing home lost power to its air-conditioning system, Creasy wrote, because a fuse to a transformer on a power pole was dislodged.
High court rejects prison ‘censorship’ case
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up a First Amendment dispute about a magazine that has been blocked from distribution to Florida prison inmates.
The Supreme Court, as is common, did not detail its reasons for declining to take up an appeal filed by Prison Legal News.
A U.S. district judge and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state Department of Corrections, which has blocked distribution of Prison Legal News because prison officials say advertisements in the magazine pose security risks.
The department has cited ads for such things as three-way phone calling services, which can be used to facilitate crimes. But in a petition filed in September asking the Supreme Court to take up the case, attorneys for Prison Legal News argued that “censorship” by the department violates free-speech and free-press rights.
Prison Legal News received support in briefs filed by groups ranging from media and religious organizations to Americans for Prosperity and The Cato Institute.