Wednesday, June 16

State Legislature Passes Package of Laws to Improve New York Elder Care

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the vulnerability of thousands of older adults under the care of nursing homes and hospitals in New York, which have so far reported nearly 14,000 deaths by coronavirus, between confirmed and presumed cases. And after that the Cuomo Administration was put in the eye of the hurricane, for his alleged responsibility in several of the deaths due to lack of protective actions of the oldest New Yorkers, the state Legislature passed a package of laws that seeks to guarantee better care for the elderly and prevent preventable deaths.

So much the Senate as the Assembly, gave the green light to a set of regulations, which must be complied with, not only by homes dedicated to the care of the elderly throughout New York State, but also by hospitals that receive and care for the elderly, in order to create safer environments.

The progress of the Legislature occurs just when the State Attorney General investigates complaints of alleged irregularities committed by the Cuomo Administration in the handling of the coronavirus infections in nursing homes, that different figures indicate that they influenced the death of up to 15,000 elderly people.

Data handled by authorities of the State Department of Health, point out that some 13,870 adults older residents in nursing homes, lost their lives due to COVID-19: of them, a total of 6, 517 died in nursing homes, while 4,402 died in hospitals and other units. Likewise, the State manages that 2,951 nursing home residents are presumed to have died from COVID, unconfirmed, being the county of Queens in the Big Apple, the most impacted with 1,679 deaths.

The Law of Personal Insurance, It establishes measures such as the number of necessary hours of care that each elderly person will need, as well as regulates safe levels regarding the number of personnel, nurses and assistants, working, that must be in charge of the residents of those institutions of care for grandparents. Likewise, it dictates specific guidelines on staffing standards and protocols and the creation of Clinical Staffing Committees to develop and supervise the implementation of annual care plans.

State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chairman of the Health Committee and promoter of the package of laws, he was pleased with the new provisions, which also require the State Health Commissioner to publish the new regulations that each nursing home will require.

“Families place their trust in these facilities to provide their loved ones with high-quality care, treatment and compassion. These New Yorkers deserve a safe and adequate staffing “said the Latino legislator. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed major flaws in our adult care facilities. Unfortunately, we have seen that a understaffed nursing home is a dangerous environment that can cause harm and injury to residents.

The Majority Leader in the Senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, stressed that these new laws are in addition to the legislation passed last March to further support and protect residents of nursing homes, where those establishments were required to spend at least 70% of your income in direct care patient and 40% in resident staffing.

“The pandemic stretched New York’s health care system and highlighted long-standing inequities in the provision of care to our most vulnerable New Yorkers. He also highlighted the importance of ensuring that health centers take steps to ensure adequate staffing. That is why I brought stakeholders to the table to take meaningful action and resolve this crucial issue that had been discussed long before our current Majority, ”said the head of the Senate. “Our nurses and healthcare workers are the backbone of the public health system and were on the front lines during the Covid-19 pandemic. This legislation will not only save lives, improve patient outcomes, but allow the New York health system to increase its ability to better respond to future public health emergencies.

About the laws, that will come into effect on January 1, 2022 and whose civil penalties will apply as of April 1, 2022, Senator Robert Jackson He stressed that in addition to protecting the elderly, it is a way of supporting the medical personnel who take care of them.

“As legislators, we must support our nurses and healthcare workers who continue to work tirelessly to save lives. One year after this pandemic, it is only fair that our state finally requires that healthcare facilities hire enough staff to adequately care for their patients, ”said Jackson.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Carl Heastie, also highlighted the vitality of pushing this package at this time.

“Nurses have always been heroes of health care, next to the beds of our loved ones. And for the past year, they have also been on the front lines of a global pandemic. These bills will ensure that our nurses, whether in hospitals or nursing homes, work in conditions that allow them to better help their patients and save lives, “said the political leader.

Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, President of the State Nurses Association (NYSNA) applauded the Legislature’s move to protect workers in homes and hospitals, as well as residents.

“Frontline nurses and healthcare workers are risking our own lives to care for the victims of the COVID pandemic, despite the unsafe staffing levels we face. Together, we took New York out of the worst months, doing everything possible to ensure the safety and recovery of the patient, ”said the activist. “This crisis illustrated that our years-long fight for secure staffing was essential and became a wake-up call. With this historic vote in the state legislature, we see a path toward establishing and enforcing safe staffing standards in all New York State hospitals and nursing homes. Our patients, residents, nurses and caregivers deserve nothing less. “

COVID Nursing Home Patient Deaths Across NY

  • 13,870 older adults are estimated to have lost their lives in nursing homes due to COVID
  • 6,517 older adults died of COVID in nursing homes
  • 4,402 nursing home residents died of COVID in hospitals and other units
  • 2,951 nursing home residents presumed to have died of unconfirmed COVID
  • 330 of those reports are attempting to be independently verified
  • 60 cases appear not to have been due to COVID, but are in verification
  • 281 cases do not have data to corroborate the initial disclosure

Deaths in nursing homes in the Big Apple alone

  • 5,622 deaths between confirmed and suspected Covid have occurred in the city
  • 1,679 deaths among confirmed and suspected cases were recorded in Queens
  • 1,446 is the number of cases in Brooklyn
  • 1,339 were the cases in The Bronx
  • 729 was the number of deaths in homes in Manhattan
  • 429 cases have been registered in Staten Island homes

Details of Laws Passed for Nursing Homes

  • Minimum staffing standards required for nursing homes
  • It requires the Health Commissioner to set staffing standards for minimum staffing levels for nursing homes and impose civil penalties for nursing homes that do not meet the minimum standards.
  • Nursing homes must meet a daily average of 3.5 hours of nursing care per daily resident, with no less than 2.2 hours of care for certified nursing assistants
  • Nursing homes should post information on available nursing staffing
  • The regulations promulgated by the Department of Health to establish civil penalties will include mitigating factors to take into account such as extraordinary circumstances faced by the facility, officially declared emergencies or natural disasters; frequency of site violations and nursing home shortage
  • Senior centers will have until January 1, 2022 to make their adjustments
  • Civil penalties will begin to be imposed from April 1, 2022
  • Details of the laws passed for hospitals

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