New York Times, November 2, 2018
Sheri Fink


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A Senate inquiry faulted state and federal oversight for fatal heat strokes and chaotic evacuations at nursing homes after last year’s hurricanes, calling for tougher disaster preparedness standards on Friday.

Officials with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency that was a subject of the inquiry, have said they would clarify expectations for how nursing homes must maintain safe temperatures in emergencies. Officials added in an interview this week that they were actively seeking lessons from recent disasters. But they defended the agency’s new preparedness requirements for health care providers, which did not come under enforcement until just after last year’s hurricane season.

The Senate’s report, released on Friday by the minority staff of the Finance Committee, comes weeks after several nursing homes in North Carolina and Florida flooded, lost power and required help evacuating after hurricanes. “Too many of them are not equipped to handle matters of basic safety in disasters,” Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said in an interview. [...]

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