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Florida Transfers Nursing Home Residents with COVID-19 to Hospitals

Flu Season Worsens

Gov. Ron DeSantis met Wednesday with state health officials to provide an update on efforts to protect residents of nursing homes.

Since Sunday, the state has been mass-transferring residents with coronavirus from such facilities that have outbreaks and to hospital, whether or not they show any symptoms.

Up to now, 57 residents have been moved out of Manor Pines Convalescent Center in Wilton Manors, along with 20 from Alexander Nininger State Veterans Nursing Home, into four Broward hospitals. Meanwhile, residents have been transported from Renaissance Health and Rehabilitation in Palm Beach County.

The Agency for Health Care Administration recently issued a directive outlining strict protocols for how a facility is required to respond when it has at least one case of the virus. Additionally,, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees Medicare and Medicaid, has issued new federal flexibility in our state to allow hospitals to bill at an established rate so they can accept residents who are positive for COVID-19 but may not need to be hospitalized.

Last Monday, Molly McKinstry, deputy secretary for the Agency for Health Care Administration, told nursing home administrators that any one of their residents who is taken to a hospital must test negative for coronavirus twice within 48 hours to be returned to the nursing home.

At a Wednesday news briefing, Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “Getting the covid positive residents out of nursing homes will save lives. We appreciate the hospitals that helped with this.”

DeSantis added that he wants to establish state-supported “COVID-dedicated facilities” for long-term care residents. The state has already established one such center in Jacksonville and will soon open another one, in Miami-Dade.

Nearly 62 percent of coronavirus deaths in Florida have been residents age 75 or older.

“Our goal is to get all long-term care facilities in a self-sustaining rhythm,” the governor added.