Nelson, Rubio File Bill Forming Advisory Panel After Irma Nursing Home Deaths

Sep 21, 2017
Originally published on September 20, 2017 4:54 pm

On the heels of nine nursing home deaths due to Hurricane Irma, Florida’s U.S. Senators have filed a bipartisan bill to create a national panel that looks into ways to help seniors during a disaster.

The bill by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) would require the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters. The goal is for the panel to provide guidance to local, state, and federal officials on how to better prepare seniors and address their health needs—before, during, and after an emergency. Nelson says the South Florida nursing home tragedy should never happen again. And, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who co-sponsored the measure, agrees.

“Senior citizens have lost their lives because a nursing home’s air conditioning unit failed them, and in the middle of the night, the heat became unbearable and they passed.”

Under the bill, the 15-member advisory committee will be made up of federal and local agency officials as well as health care professionals with disaster response experience.

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