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Florida Nursing Home Voicemails to Governor Erased

Image: Florida Nursing Home Voicemails to Governor Erased

(John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

By    |   Monday, 25 September 2017 11:59 AM

In Florida, nursing home voicemails to the governor, from a facility where 11 died, were erased after the recorded information was collected, Gov. Rick Scott's office told the Miami Herald.

The fatalities at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills connected with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma made national headlines. The newspaper stated that Scott had given out his phone number to nursing homes and assisted living facilities before Irma hit to report concerns.

Natasha Anderson, a vice president with The Rehabilitation Center, said, according to WQAM-TV, that she called the governor's cellphone saying that the nursing home needed "immediate assistance" in restoring the power to their air conditioning system.

Scott said, though, that no one at the nursing home suggested there was a crisis situation with patients there, the television station reported.

WQAM-TV wrote that four separate voicemails were left for the governor 36 hours before the first patient died there. The television station stated that when it asked for copies of the voicemails, Scott's staff said that the recordings were not archived.

"The voicemails were not retained because the information from each voicemail was collected by the governor's staff and given to the proper agency for handling," a spokeswoman in Scott's office told WQAM-TV.

Scott's office stated that the voicemails were erased in accordance with the state's public records law and were irrelevant to the deaths, the television station reported.

"None of this changes the fact that this facility chose not to call 911 or evacuate their patients to the hospital across the street to save lives," the spokeswoman noted, per WMAQ-TV.

Scott's office told the Miami Herald that the messages were forwarded to the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Health. The first call from the home was received at 7:35 p.m. on Sept. 11, and the Department of Health's chief of staff returned the call two hours later instructing Anderson to call 911 if patients were at risk, the newspaper stated.

The center's last call to Scott's cellphone, according to the governor's office, happened at 12:50 p.m. on Sept. 12. That phone call was returned by the state healthcare administrators, Scott's office stated, per the Herald.

The nursing home, across from Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, lost its air conditioning as Hurricane Irma blew through South Florida on Sept. 10, but maintained some power in the facility, the Herald stated.

Eight nursing home residents died Sept. 13 after they were left in the center in sweltering heat with the body temperature of some residents was higher than 108 degrees, with one recorded at 109.9, the Naples Daily News reported, citing a state investigation.

Three others nursing home residents have died since as the Hollywood Police Department announced that it was treating the deaths as a criminal investigation, the Daily News reported.

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In Florida, nursing home voicemails to the governor, from a facility where 11 died, were erased after the recorded information was collected, Gov. Rick Scott's office told the Miami Herald Sunday.
florida, nursing home, voicemails, governor
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2017-59-25
Monday, 25 September 2017 11:59 AM
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