Nursing homes swamped Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s phone after Irma

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — As Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida, Gov. Rick Scott gave out his cellphone quantity throughout a convention name with directors of the state’s nursing houses and assisted dwelling amenities. He informed them to contact him in the event that they bumped into issues, and he would attempt to get assist.

In order that they did, one hundred twenty occasions based on telephone data launched this week. Almost all of the calls went on to voicemail earlier than being returned.

The Related Press reached 29 of the callers this week, and located that in quite a few instances, the governor’s supply to personally intervene might have slowed efforts to get assist, and fostered unrealistic and probably harmful expectations that Scott might resolve issues that have been past his management. Just one stated the governor answered himself — and she or he obtained the assistance she wanted.

Irma knocked out energy throughout a lot of Florida as its strongest winds swept from Key West to Jacksonville on Sept. 10 and eleven, and a lot of the calls requested for assist restoring electrical energy. However Florida is served by personal electrical corporations and municipal utilities — none directed by the state. The governor’s workplace might solely request that specific nursing houses be given precedence.

Twelve sufferers later died of overheating at a nursing house that referred to as Scott’s cellphone 3 times. Its directors say Scott’s employees didn’t get them assist restoring their air con. Scott, a former hospital government, says their negligence triggered the deaths.

“Even with the perfect of intentions, if you give a single quantity, you mechanically create a possible bottleneck, and it’s virtually a assured bottleneck if it’s the governor’s quantity,” stated Richard Olson, government director of Florida Worldwide College’s Excessive Occasions Institute. He recommends making a state hotline for nursing houses throughout excessive climate, with operators filtering requires severity and urgency.

The data present that a lot of the calls Scott obtained from nursing houses and assisted dwelling amenities have been acquired on the day earlier than the storm and in the course of the three days thereafter. A number of occasions day by day an aide would take heed to the recordings, word names, numbers and issues, and e mail the knowledge to different aides, who would get them contacted. The voicemails have been then erased.

Scott’s workplace launched his aides’ emails concerning the calls late Monday underneath a public data request made by former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, who…

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