Health Committee Blocks Squadron’s ‘Rivington Act’ For At-Risk Nursing Homes

Squadron Bill Named for Shuttered LES Nursing Home

Squadron/AM Niou Bill Would Ensure Community Process When Nursing Homes Are Threatened

NEW YORK – State Senator Daniel Squadron released the following statement in response to the Senate’s Health Committee’s rejection of the “Rivington Act” (S.2036/A.4395-Niou) -- his bill to require community health needs to be met as part of a more public and transparent process when nursing homes are threatened:

“The ‘Rivington Act’ helps ensure community voice and community health, but today the Health Committee chose to disregard both,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “The 'Rivington Act' is based on a simple concept -- communities should have a voice in healthcare in the community. That didn't happen at Rivington House, and unfortunately, was blocked by the Senate Majority today. The Chair committed to taking up this issue this session -- I stand ready to work with him on his concerns and ensure Senate action this year. I’ll continue the push, along with Assemblymembers Niou and Simon, Community Board 3, Neighbors to Save Rivington House, and my local colleagues.”

Squadron and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou introduced the bill in response to the appalling deed restriction removal and closure of Rivington House on the Lower East Side. Earlier this session, Squadron used a procedural motion to force today’s committee vote.

“It is appalling that Republicans in the Senate Health Committee put partisan politics ahead of transparency and the need for local community involvement when considering the closure of nursing homes,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “As the main Assembly sponsor for the Rivington Act, I vow to continue pushing to shed light around nursing home closures and work to ensure that community input is incorporated into this important decision making process. Communities across New York State were short-changed by the Senate committee’s decision today to postpone a decision on this bill, particularly the Lower East Side in my district, but I encourage everyone to stay involved and continue pushing for the Rivington Act. I will continue to fight for the protection of our neighborhood health facilities, and I strongly encourage the Senate’s Health Committee to stand by their commitment to hear this bill once again. I thank Senator Squadron, Assemblymember Simon, Community Board 3, Neighbors to Save Rivington House and our local colleagues for their leadership around this issue.”

“It is important for New Yorkers to learn every possible lesson from the devastating loss of Rivington House,” said Melissa Aase Executive Director, University Settlement. “In our community there is now only one skilled, residential nursing facilities left, with a five year waiting list.  Had the impending deed restriction removals, evacuation of patients, and sale of Rivington House for luxury housing development been transparent to our community, we would have clearly raised our voices in opposition and demonstrated the dire need for the full and affordable continuum of care for the elderly, ill, or disabled members of our community.  We won't stop fighting for the return of Rivington House, and in the meantime we are grateful to Senator Squadron and Assembly Member Niou for their tireless pursuit of remedies and protections for the future.”

“We are astonished that despite the efforts of Senator Squadron and others, the Senate Majority could not do right by those in need of our protection,” said K Webster of Neighbors to Save Rivington House. “The Senate Majority had a choice: to allow the continued eviction of the elderly, the ill and the disabled from their homes in secrecy in order to line the pockets of profiteers or work towards passing this law. The Health Committee's decision means that those with little means and time left on this earth will suffer this choice and will live more precariously because of it. It is important the Committee act on its commitment to address the issue this session. Lower Manhattan has lost more than half of its long-term care facility beds within the last decade according to NY State’s DOH data: from 1,085 beds to 418. These losses have been steady, merciless and unconscionable. The Senate Majority must not be complicit witnesses to the devastation of our most vulnerable.”

The “Rivington Act” is based on Squadron/Assemblymember Simon’s Local Input in Community Healthcare (LICH) Act (S.2500A/A.6417A), which creates a similar process for at-risk hospitals.