On Monday, Graham wrote a personal check for $1,200 for a public records request looking into the deaths which resulted from a power loss after Hurricane Irma struck the state last fall.
Graham said she believed the state had taken long enough to produce the records, which could provide much-needed insight on exactly how and why the seniors fell victim to sweltering conditions at the nursing home, which ultimately resulted in their deaths.
Graham’s public records request is looking for answers as to how the governor’s office was involved in the tragedy, since officials working at the nursing home said they attempted to contact the governor several times when they were without power.
"It is troubling and totally unacceptable that Governor Rick Scott has refused to voluntarily release all the records surrounding Hollywood Hills and his office's role in the tragedy,” Graham said.
Over a dozen senior citizens died in the sweltering heat at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in September when the nursing home’s air conditioning went out following Hurricane Irma.
The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills also said it followed the appropriate emergency preparedness plans when the air conditioning went out.
The facility has pointed the blame at the governor, saying it tried to contact Scott multiple times on a special line given out to healthcare executives before Hurricane Irma.
While Gov. Scott’s office doesn’t deny being contacted by the nursing home, it has said staffers at the Rehabilitation did not indicate any patients were in danger at the time of the calls.
The governor’s office said the facility apparently was in no rush to call 911 to tell someone, anyone that patients were in danger.
“No amount of finger pointing by the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Facility … will hide the fact that this healthcare facility failed to do their basic duty to protect life,” Scott said in a prepared statement in September. “This facility is failing to take responsibility for the fact that they delayed calling 911 and made the decision to not evacuate their patients to one of the largest hospitals in Florida, which is directly across the street.
The one-time Congresswoman called the delay in the records release “disappointing, but not surprising.”
Scott’s office is known to be slow in responding to public records requests, with some taking months to fulfill.
"This isn't about me or Rick Scott. This is about the 14 seniors who died and the public's right to know the truth,” Graham said. “We need to know exactly what went wrong so we can prevent an incident like this from ever happening again...this is a small price to pay for the people of Florida to know the full truth.”
Scott’s office said Monday it was “finalizing” Graham’s request and would have it complete “very soon,” though it did not give a release date.