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Bill would change nursing home evacuation plan process

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Posted at 11:03 AM, Apr 11, 2022

The proposal from Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration to tighten up rules for nursing home hurricane evacuations would prohibit state records about how well those plans are executed from being released publicly, the Louisiana Illuminator is reporting.

Officials who work under Edwards helped craft House Bill 933 in response to the horrific evacuation of seven southeast Louisiana nursing homes to an old pesticide warehouse for Hurricane Ida. The state health department was forced to rescue more than 800 elderly and medically vulnerable people from the warehouse in Tangipahoa Parish in September. Fifteen people died in the aftermath, with at least five deaths attributed to the evacuation, the Illuminator reports.

The bill, carried by Rep. Joe Stagni, R-Kenner, aims to create more accountability by requiring nursing homes to submit an “after-event report” each time they evacuate or experience problems while “sheltering in place” for a natural disaster, the story says.

The reports would provide details on how a nursing home’s emergency plan held up in the face of a hurricane or other weather event. The Louisiana Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness Review Committee would use them to adjust evacuation and shelter-in-place regulations moving forward, the story says.

Yet the bill calls for the after-event reports to be kept out of the public record. Nursing home residents, their families, media outlets and others would not be able to access them, even if there was reason to think a facility’s emergency response had gone awry, the Illuminator reports.

To read the Illuminator's full story, click here.