Disaster preparedness

When operating an ALF, it is imperative to operate by the rule of the 5 ‘P’s; Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. This could be no truer than when discussing emergency preparedness for disasters, especially here in Florida. We have had our fair share of natural disasters and must continue to be vigilant in keeping our seniors safe during these situations. Make sure you are completely aware of the following Emergency Preparedness regulations provided by the Agency for Health Care Administration:

408.821 Emergency management planning; emergency operations; inactive license.—
(1) A licensee required by authorizing statutes and agency rule to have a comprehensive
the emergency management plan must designate a safety liaison to serve as the primary contact for
emergency operations. Such licensee shall submit its comprehensive emergency management plan to
the local emergency management agency, county health department, or Department of Health as
(a) Submit the plan within 30 days after initial licensure and change of ownership, and notify the
an agency within 30 days after submission of the plan.
(b) Submit the plan annually and within 30 days after any significant modification, as defined by
agency rule, to a previously approved plan.
(c) Submit necessary plan revisions within 30 days after notification that plan revisions are
(d) Notify the agency within 30 days after approval of its plan by the local emergency management
agency, county health department, or Department of Health.
(2) An entity subject to this part may temporarily exceed its licensed capacity to act as a receiving
provider in accordance with an approved comprehensive emergency management plan for up to 15
days. While in an overcapacity status, each provider must furnish or arrange for appropriate care and services to all clients. In addition, the agency may approve requests for overcapacity in excess of 15
days, which approvals may be based upon satisfactory justification and need as provided by the
receiving and sending providers.
(3)(a) An inactive license may be issued to a licensee subject to this section when the provider is
located in a geographic area in which a state of emergency was declared by the Governor if the
1. Suffered damage to its operation during the state of emergency.
2. Is currently licensed.
3. Does not have a provisional license.
4. Will be temporarily unable to provide services but is reasonably expected to resume services within 12 months.(b) An inactive license may be issued for a period not to exceed 12 months but may be renewed by the agency for up to 12 additional months upon demonstration to the agency of progress toward reopening. A request by a licensee for an inactive license or to extend the previously approved inactive period must be submitted in writing to the agency, accompanied by a written justification for the inactive license, which states the beginning and ending dates of inactivity and includes a plan for the transfer of any clients to other providers and appropriate licensure fees. Upon agency approval, the licensee shall notify clients of any necessary discharge or transfer as required by authorizing statutes or applicable rules. The beginning of the inactive licensure period shall be the date the provider ceases operations. The end of the inactive period shall become the license expiration date and all licensure fees must be current, must be paid in full, and maybe prorated. Reactivation of an inactive license requires prior approval by the agency of a renewal application, including payment of licensure fees and agency inspections indicating compliance with all requirements of this part and applicable rules and statutes.
(4) The agency may adopt rules relating to emergency management planning, communications, and operations. Licensees providing residential or inpatient services must utilize an online database approved by the agency to report information to the agency regarding the provider’s emergency status,
planning, or operations.

Pro Tip:
The biggest takeaway here is ensuring your staff is fully aware and equipped to deal with a disaster by training them frequently (document this and keep it in the staff file) on your emergency preparedness plan. It should also be suggested to have updated photos, relocation status as well as a contact number for all
residents in case of the need to evacuate the community due to a disaster