Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today announced that Majority Democratic Assembly Member Ron Kim (D-Queens) has introduced his legislation in the Assembly Rules Committee to establish an independent, bi-partisan state commission to fully investigate the deaths of thousands of New Yorkers who died from COVID-19 in state-regulated nursing homes.
Tedisco and Kim’s legislation (S.8756/A.10857) would establish an independent, unbiased and bi-partisan investigation with subpoena power to perform a top-to-bottom review of what happened in the state’s nursing homes to get answers and provide a measure of closure for the families of those who lost their lives and help prepare for a second wave of the pandemic.
The bi-partisan commission to investigate the nursing home deaths would consist of five members: one each appointed by the Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, Assembly Speaker and Assembly Minority Leader, and chaired by an appointee of the New York State Attorney General. Each appointee must have expertise in health care and health care policy issues. Commission members would not be paid and they would have subpoena power. A report would be publicly issued and sent to the Legislature with findings and recommendations for the future.
“The movement for an independent, unbiased and bi-partisan investigation with subpoena power to examine the deaths of thousands of New Yorkers in the state’s nursing homes just got a lot stronger today thanks to Democratic Majority Assembly Member Ron Kim’s sponsorship of my legislation to help us get answers for the families of those who lost their lives and help prepare for a second wave of this pandemic,” said Senator Jim Tedisco. “I want to thank Assembly Member Kim for his leadership on this issue and thank all my colleagues who have sponsored this bill so we can provide a measure of closure to the loved ones of those who lost their lives from COVID-19 while in a nursing home.”
The state Department of Health reports at least 6,500 people died within nursing homes as a result of COVID-19. That number could be significantly higher as many residents were believed to have contracted the virus at a nursing home and then transported to a hospital where they ultimately lost their lives. Earlier this week, Senator Tedisco wrote to the Governorrequesting that the real number of deaths be publicly released.