Veteran Affairs offers beds to nursing home residents in need after Irma

After Wednesday’s death of eight residents of a Hollywood nursing home steaming without air conditioning, U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin announced Thursday that the agency will open available beds to non-Veteran nursing home residents affected by Hurricane Irma.

“We will continue to look for ways to relieve the hardship this powerful storm has caused,” Shulkin said. “Much of the heavy-lifting to recover from the hurricane is still to come and our leaders and staff are determined to find as many ways as we can for VA to help in the response.”

After delivering withering statements about the tragic deaths at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, the VA announcement said, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., began talking with Shulkin Wednesday night about inadequately cooled nursing homes. The Florida Health Care Association said as of Thursday morning, 64 of the state’s 683 nursing homes remained without power after Irma’s rampage across the state.

Many nursing homes have generators, but generators doesn’t equal air conditioning. The Rehabilitation Center had a generator.

Hollywood police, now going over the center with a search warrant, said Thursday morning, “The initial investigation has determined the facility had some power; however the building’s air conditioning system was not fully functional.”