Albany, NY - In advance of state legislative hearings to be held this month on tragic deaths of thousands of New Yorkers in nursing homes, Assemblymember Ron Kim and State Senator Andrew Gounardes renewed their call to pass life-saving state nursing home legislation which would mandate a significantly more active role in nursing home oversight from the State Department of Health.
1) Must maintain adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and daily record-keeping of their usage
2) Give timely and consistent communication with residents and their loved ones about any suspected or confirmed infections
3) Inform residents of alternative care options, such as home care, that they may pursue; if they opt for such alternatives, the Department of Health will allocate the appropriations needed to secure them
4) Ensure residents and loved ones can communicate at least three times daily
5) To transfer, with DOH support, any COVID-19 patients and find alternative options for those residents and their family members.
Furthermore, the bill requires all facilities to provide detailed daily reports to the state and local health departments on potential disease spread on their premises. For facilities that remain noncompliant, the State Department of Health Commissioner could appoint temporary operators, who would assume operational control and responsibility.
Senator Andrew Gounardes said, “Now is the time to pass true accountability measures for nursing homes and our state, so that no family ever again has to experience the horrors that countless families in New York experienced. My heart is with the families in southern Brooklyn who experienced losing a loved one in this terrible way. I look forward to hearings on what happened at nursing homes across the state, and believe that this legislation is a vital step forward to ensure that we protect nursing home residents in the future.”
Assemblymember Ron Kim said, "Countless people have reached out to me this past month after seeing our call to hold to the state responsible for the COVID-19 fatality rate in nursing homes across New York. Instead of sneaking in immunity clauses for private nursing home operators and giving contradictory health mandates, the Department of Health should have implemented adequate safety measures, full accountability, and transparency for all nursing home residents and their loved ones. This bill may be too late for those that have already left us, but we absolutely must pass it for the many vulnerable, worried New Yorkers still waiting for relief, answers, and some sign that the death of their family members was not in vain."