ALBANY, NY – Senator Sue Serino today released the following statement after the State Senate approved a package of bills pertaining to nursing homes and residential healthcare facilities in New York:
“When it comes to protecting residents, empowering loved ones and providing resources to staff, to date the Legislature has done the bare minimum, and this package is no exception. If my colleagues in the Supermajority were serious, they could have moved these bills last year instead of waiting for a bombshell report from the New York State Attorney General and an ensuing scandal to break to compel action.
While some of the bills passed today have a worthwhile intent and may make a difference far into the future, most will do absolutely nothing to protect residents now. Many of these bills do not have sponsors in the Assembly, meaning they are a long way from ever becoming law and many would not take effect immediately even if they did pass both houses and actually get signed by the Governor.
Residents, their loved ones and the dedicated staff who care for them deserve better—they deserve an immediate, independent investigation to compel truth, transparency and accountability that can be used to actually inform real policy to improve care and save lives.”
When the Legislature returned in May of 2020 after a nearly two month hiatus under the guise of passing bills to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature failed to pass a single bill to better protect nursing home residents. This, despite the fact that Senator Serino and others had introduced a number of substantive policy proposals that would have directly addressed issues arising at the time—including an amendment that would have provided $100 million in then unused CARES Act funding to help purchase needed testing supplies and PPE, as well as train and hire desperately needed additional staff. That amendment was rejected outright by the Senate’s Majority.
Senator Serino is the Ranking Member of the State Senate’s Aging Committee.