CBS4 News Miami by Jim DeFede
September 22, 2017
The voicemail messages left on Gov. Rick Scott’s personal cellphone by a Hollywood nursing home where at least 11 people have died following Hurricane Irma, were deleted, according to the governor’s office.
There were a total of four voicemails left during the 36 hours before the first patient died, and they would have been a critical piece of evidence in the ongoing investigation into the patient deaths.
Natasha Anderson, a vice president with The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, says she called the governor’s cellphone to say the nursing home needed “immediate assistance” in restoring the power to their air conditioning system.
Scott said at no time did anyone from the nursing home suggest there was a crisis or that patients were in danger.
In response to CBS4’s request for copies of the voicemails, a spokeswoman with the governor’s office, wrote in an email: “The voicemails were not retained because the information from each voicemail was collected by the Governor’s staff and given to the proper agency for handling.”
The Governor has cut off Medicaid and Medicare funding for the nursing home and suspended its license. The Governor’s actions, however, have also come under scrutiny.
In the week leading up to Irma, Gov. Scott held a series of conference calls with emergency managers as well as hospital and nursing home officials. During those conference calls he gave out his cellphone number and said if any of the healthcare centers experienced trouble they should call him at that number and he would work to resolve their problem. [READ MORE]