LeadingAge: Appeals Court Clarifies – Emergency Rules Are Invalid

Dear LeadingAge Florida members,

This afternoon, the First District Court of Appeals ruled in our favor, rejecting AHCA’s and DOEA’s argument that the Governor’s Emergency Rules remain in effect.

As a result, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have no obligations under the emergency rules – they are invalid and unenforceable.

As you know, the administrative law judge determined last month that the rules were invalid, finding them “arbitrary and capricious.” The state agencies immediately appealed that ruling, arguing that the Emergency Rules remained in effect throughout the length of their appeal.

We asked the appellate court to clarify whether the Emergency Rules remained in effect during the appeal, and that court has clarified that the rules do not remain in effect.

This represents the second time a court has ruled in our favor with respect to the Emergency Rules, and the unrealistic timelines they sought to impose on nursing homes and assisted living communities. The state may choose to pursue its appeal; but, the Emergency Rules have been finally invalidated until a court rules otherwise.

We know the rules themselves, the state’s appeal, and press releases identifying compliant members as non-compliant, among other things, have created significant confusion for our members, your residents, and their families.

Today’s clarification from the appellate court should put an end to that confusion. Nevertheless, we encourage members to continue on the path toward sufficient generator capacity in alignment with the rule, since that is the framework being used in the permanent rulemaking process and in the bills we have been working on with legislators.

But as a result of today’s ruling, you can proceed in an orderly, reasonable way that allows for proper planning and implementation, and that results in truly safe environments for residents.

Steve Bahmer