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Gov. Scott shuts down Rehab Center at Hollywood Hills where eight people died Wednesday; investigations underway

Governor Rick Scott directed the Agency for Health Care Administration to issue an emergency moratorium for the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills following the death of eight residents resulting from an AC failure at the facility after Hurricane Irma.

All patients have been evacuated from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. This moratorium immediately prevents this facility from admitting any patients until it is lifted. Governor Scott made it clear that he is demanding answers and had ordered the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Children and Families to immediately investigate this facility.

The Hollywood Police Department, in partnership with multiple Federal, State and local agency investigators are conducting a criminal investigation to determine the circumstances that led to eight patient deaths at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills at 1200 N. 35th Avenue in Hollywood.

The initial investigation has determined the facility had some power; however the building’s air conditioning system was not fully functional. The owner of the facility, Dr. Jack Michel reportedly has a history of fraud and has declined to comment on the deaths.

Eight patients are now confirmed dead. One of the patients died Tuesday at the facility and was taken away by a funeral home.

Information on Deceased:

Carolyn Eatherly, DOB 8-13-39

Gail Nova, DOB 2-22-46

Estella Hendricks, DOB1-4-46

Bobby Owens, DOB 5-16-33

Miguel Franco, DOB 9-5-25

Manuel Mendieta, DOB 8-26-21

Albertina Vega, DOB 10-10-17

Betty Hibbard, DOB 1-11-33

Residents were individually profiled by Sun Sentinel.

Based on a patient census from the staff at the Rehabilitation Center, as well as a physical patient count conducted by Memorial Regional Hospital staff, the total number of patients evacuated is now confirmed to be 145. Of the 145 patients received by Memorial Regional Hospital, 141 patients were residents of the Rehabilitation Center and 4 were residents of the adjoining facility Larkin Community Hospital Behavioral Health Services. Memorial Regional Hospital processed 119 of the patients, 39 have been admitted to Memorial facilities.  The remaining patients were transferred to Cleveland Clinic, Aventura Hospital and Broward Health.

The Hollywood Police Department has been granted a search warrant for the property. Department detectives are currently on-scene continuing their investigating. Officers are working closely to assist family members of those patients who were evacuated to retrieve necessary items and small personal effects from the facility.

On Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott directed the Agency for Health Care Administration to issue an emergency moratorium for The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. This moratorium immediately prevents this facility from admitting any patients until it is lifted. For additional information contact ACHA Communications office at 850-412-3623.

There is no additional information at this time.

David Volz
David Volz
David Volz has been a reporter for Hollywood Gazette since 2011 and has worked for numerous community news publications throughout South Florida over the past two decades including the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and South Florida Business Journal. He is a Professor in the Business department at Broward College and the editor of the Coral Springs Connection, an online community news website. He covers city government, schools, sports events, cultural activities, faith groups and workplaces.

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