Florida governor orders removal of nursing home from Medicaid program after 8 died

Florida nursing home deaths

At least 56 of Florida's 639 nursing homes still have no electricity on Friday morning, five days after Hurricane Irma. Nursing homes across the state are getting new attention after eight patients died Wednesday.

Hollywood police carried out a search warrant of the Hollywood Hills home as the criminal investigation into this tragedy moves forward. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has directed Florida's agency for healthcare administration to remove the rehabilitation center from the Medicaid program.

Family and friends of patients who died and survived are demanding answers, reports CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti.

"What a price to pay. Not just my Betty but all the people," said Jean Johnson, who was friends with Betty Hibbard, one of the eight victims, for more than 60 years. She had visited her at the center just one day before her death.

"When we walked in it was so hot. And she was gasping. When we approach her she wasn't really crying but tears were kind of coming, she says 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe Jean,'" Johnson said.

Early Wednesday morning, three patients arrived at the hospital across the street with extremely high body temperatures. One of the nurses became alarmed and walked over to find out what was happening.

Hollywood police chief on sealing Florida nursing home as crime scene

Vendetta Craig's mother, 87-year-old Edna Jefferson, was one of the 145 patients evacuated.

Asked what she'd like to say to the facility's owner, Craig said, "We coming for you. This is unacceptable. You mess with my mom, you mess with my mom, I'm not taking it."

The Hollywood Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation with the help of state, local and federal agencies.

"We want to make sure we interview everybody and see what they did and what they didn't do to make a determination, was there any criminal elements here," said Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez.

A state inspection of the facility last year found a series of violations including multiple "medication errors," "overflowing trash in bins," and general "disrepair" leaving many wondering why the facility was still open. 

"That's another question for the state agencies that regulate these nursing homes. At what point do you pull the license? At what point is it enough?" said Hollywood, Florida, Mayor Josh Levy.

"CBS This Morning" called the nursing home multiple times for comment but got no answer.