U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced legislation today that would create a national advisory committee to look for ways to better prepare and care for our nation’s seniors during a disaster, such as Hurricane Irma, which led to the deaths of eight seniors in a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida.
“Not only has the tragedy in Hollywood left wounds across the state of Florida, but it has exposed other examples of potential mismanagement at assisted living facilities in the state,” said Rubio. “This bill is a necessary step in preventing similar tragedies in the future and ensuring Florida’s seniors are taken care of during natural disasters.”
The bipartisan bill would require the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters. The Committee members would be appointed by the Secretary of HHS and made up of federal and local agency officials, as well as non-federal health care professionals with expertise in disaster response.
Once established, the panel would be charged with providing guidance to local, state and federal officials on how to better prepare seniors for an emergency, how to better evaluate their health needs during an emergency and what activities should be carried out when an emergency is declared.
The legislation introduced today now heads to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for consideration.
You can view a copy of the bill text here.