On the heels of eight residents dying at Hollywood Hills nursing facility, local, state, and federal authorities opened a Criminal Investigation. Police in Hollywood, FL, executed a search warrant on the Hollywood Hills nursing facility to aid authorities in the ongoing criminal investigation of residents’ deaths. Governor Scott’s office released a statement on Thursday evening, which noted that it is evident “this facility cannot be responsible for Florida’s vulnerable patients,” USA Today relayed.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has instructed the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA) to remove the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills as a facility from the Medicaid program.

After Hurricane Irma, eight elderly residents died at the facility, which state and federal officials criticized repeatedly for its shortcomings in patient care, according to USA Today. Officials also faulted Hollywood Hills and a Miami nursing home for suspicious billing practices.

Hollywood Hills care facility has problematic past, several violations

Following the most recent ACHA inspection of Hollywood Hills, the care home was cited, receiving 11 health infractions and resulting in a below average rating garnered by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The nursing home demonstrated some improvement since the February 2016 ACHA inspection.

In 2016, Hollywood Hills was fined $5,500 for 17 health deficiencies, according to USA Today. A primary concern inspectors had was the level of attention that patients seemed to receive from the facility’s staff.

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The nursing home’s paperwork was not meshing with how the residents appeared. On paper, it seemed, for instance, that a man only identified by the moniker Resident #46 received daily assistance with activities such as shaving. However, the inspectors noticed that he appeared unshaven for days and that his fingernails were overgrown and “jagged,” USA Today reported.

A facet of the ongoing criminal investigation entails making a concerted effort to “interview everybody,” Police Chief Thomas Sanchez, Hollywood, FL, stated. According to CBS News, authorities are striving to ascertain what people did and did not do in order to determine whether there were criminal elements involved in the deaths of the eight elderly residents.

In light of previous health deficiencies discovered by inspectors at Hollywood Hills, Hollywood Florida Mayor Josh Levy asked, “At what point do you pull the license? At what point is it enough?” CBS noted.

Nursing home failed to evacuate resident suffering without air conditioning

On Wednesday morning, six of the eight residents of Hollywood Hills died after falling.

They were in a building that had no air conditioning in the wake of Hurricane Irma blasting South Florida, according to authorities, as well as CBS. Memorial Regional Hospital, however, is across the street from the nursing home. The hospital did not report any power outage and members of the hospital’s staff were the first to respond to the crises at the nursing home and assisted in assessing and evacuating elderly residents.

Bertha Aguiar is 93-years-old. She survived the incident at Hollywood Hills in the aftermath of the hurricane, but she suffered severe dehydration. William Dean is South Florida attorney who is representing Aguiar, USA Today relayed. When her daughter was at the nursing home on Monday, she voiced her concern about the oppressive temperatures inside Hollywood Hills. She was assured that the staff was working on getting the air conditioning restored quickly and told that she need not worry.

Dean stated that Hollywood Hills’ operators might have been reluctant to evacuate the residents, according to USA Today. He said the staff may have feared that once the residents were evacuated they may not have returned. “The minute you move someone,” he said, “all of a sudden no one is paying and you have an empty bed.” Dean did file notice on behalf of Aguiar on Thursday, stating that she intends to sue Hollywood Hills. He told USA Today that when a family moves a resident out of a facility and realizes that the new facility is better than the former care home, the family questions, “Why are we going to let her stay at that old place? They never want to let you out of the door.”