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Nelson, Rubio File Bill Forming Advisory Panel After Irma Nursing Home Deaths

MGN Online

On the heels of nine nursing home deaths due to Hurricane Irma, Florida’s U.S. Senators have filed a bipartisan bill to create a national panel that looks into ways to help seniors during a disaster.

The bill by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) would require the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters. The goal is for the panel to provide guidance to local, state, and federal officials on how to better prepare seniors and address their health needs—before, during, and after an emergency. Nelson says the South Florida nursing home tragedy should never happen again. And, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who co-sponsored the measure, agrees.

“Senior citizens have lost their lives because a nursing home’s air conditioning unit failed them, and in the middle of the night, the heat became unbearable and they passed.”

Under the bill, the 15-member advisory committee will be made up of federal and local agency officials as well as health care professionals with disaster response experience.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.