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Louisiana Nursing Homes Required to Maintain Emergency Preparedness Plan

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   June 29, 2022

New law requires nursing homes to have their emergency plans approved each year by the state.

All Louisiana nursing homes are required to maintain an emergency preparedness plan approved by the Louisiana Department of Health, says legislation recently signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

The legislation requires each nursing home in Louisiana to annually review and update its emergency preparedness plan and submit it to the emergency preparedness manager of the Louisiana Department of Health, bureau of health services financing, for approval no later than March 1 of each year.

If a nursing home makes any substantive changes to its emergency preparedness plan, it is required to submit the revised plan for approval, according to the law.

The law stems from the tragic, botched evacuation of more than 800 residents from seven southeast Louisiana nursing homes, who were evacuated to a Tangipahoa Parish warehouse in advance of Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 hurricane that hit the state’s coast last August.

Bob Dean, who owned the seven nursing homes and the warehouse, placed medically fragile residents into an ill-equipped, otherwise empty facility. More than a dozen residents who were evacuated to the warehouse died shortly after the event; at least five were determined to be storm-related.

Dean, of Georgia, was arrested a week ago after turning himself in to authorities and charged with eight felony counts of cruelty to persons with infirmities, along with other counts related to Medicaid fraud. He was released on $350,000 bond.

Louisiana’s new law is designed to ensure such an occurrence never happens again and nursing homes have safe, well-thought-out evacuation plans in place.

Additionally, the law creates the Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness Review Committee, which will be responsible for “identifying risks and threats, identifying manpower issues for loading, transporting, and unloading residents, and developing … recommendations for emergency preparedness plans to promote the health, safety, and welfare of nursing home residents.”

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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