Sandy Underscored Nursing Home Evacuation Issues

NEW YORK (February 7, 2013)--Health experts and regulators warn that thousands of nursing homes nationwide are still ill-prepared for a natural disaster after Superstorm Sandy.

The storm in late October was the latest natural disaster to expose gaps in emergency planning despite an industry-wide effort to improve preparedness in the years since Hurricane Katrina.

In New York City, the staffs of seaside nursing homes and assisted living centers struggled to evacuate more than 6,000 residents from their flooded or powerless buildings.

Some changes could be in the works, however.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it expects to issue new disaster planning requirements for nursing homes this year with the goal of avoiding the types of problems encountered during the superstorm.

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