New York AARP Asks Governor Cuomo to Implement Nursing Home Reforms
Since Covid-19 began to spread about a year ago, the number of nursing home deaths has skyrocketed – nursing home residents comprise more than one-third of Covid-19 related deaths. So too, have stories of severe neglect of nursing home residents, which has led to countless others’ injuries and death.
Abuse and neglect in nursing homes have always existed. The pandemic has provided a much-needed and long-overdue spotlight on the frequency and severity of the problem. Advocacy groups and families of nursing home residents are seizing this opportunity to seek reforms.
AARP New York State Director Finkel stated, “We should not waste this golden opportunity to improve safety and conditions for our mothers, fathers, grandparents, spouses and other loved ones in New York’s nursing homes – and for the staff who care for them.”
What Does the AARP Letter to The Governor Say?
On February 17, 2021, AARP formally asked Governor Cuomo to implement badly needed nursing home reforms. In a letter to the Governor, AARP requested that he include its Five Point Reform Plan in the 2021-2022 state budget proposal.
The plan is the result of a collaboration between AARP, healthcare workers union 1199SEIU, and The Long-Term Care Community Coalition.
The letter urges the Governor to include the reforms in his 30-day Executive Budget Amendments.
The plan would require nursing homes to provide a minimum amount of direct care hours, more staffing, transparency, and other necessities that have been severely lacking, especially during the pandemic. It would also restore families’ rights to seek legal recourse, which were suspended earlier to shield nursing homes from liability for Covid-19 related deaths, neglect, and abuse.
What Does The Five Point Reform Plan Specifically Address?
The Five-Point Reform Plan’s suggested reforms include several crucial areas in need of change, some of which are the direct result of conditions created by the pandemic. It is no secret that nursing home residents have suffered terribly from loneliness and isolation during this time. Short staffing, inability to have visitors and diverted attention can contribute to the rapid emotional and physical decline of nursing home patients. Part of the plan seeks to address these issues. Let’s take a closer look.
This is one of AARP’s biggest concerns, and it asks for the implementation of safe in-person visitation and safe virtual visitation.
This would include “compassionate care visits.” AARP recognizes that social interaction and emotional support from family, friends, and other residents are critical to residents’ emotional and physical health. Visits from the nursing home staff are part of this.
This includes requiring nursing homes to spend money on things directly related to providing quality care to residents, including increasing staff levels, more direct care, ensuring strict compliance with infectious disease protocols, providing adequate PPE, regular and ongoing testing, and better oversight of and access to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.
The plan would require daily reporting of data on fatalities and infectious disease rates of staff and residents in all nursing homes and adult care facilities. It would also require an annual report to the Legislature that is also available to the public.
Home and Community-Based Services:
The plan requests that the Governor increase state funding by $27 million to help provide services and support that would allow elderly New Yorkers to remain in their homes, which is what many would prefer.
There is a waitlist of over 10,000 people seeking these services that “support family caregivers in helping older loved ones avoid costlier, mostly taxpayer-funded nursing homes.”
Retroactive Repeal of Legal Immunity for Nursing Homes
Nursing homes have been granted legal immunity for negligent care provided during the pandemic. The plan urges the Governor to repeal this immunity, allowing the families of nursing home residents who were injured or died because of negligence to seek legal recourse.
Pursuing legal action against a nursing home is not easy, but it should be an option when negligence resulted in harm to your loved one. AARP wants this repeal to be retroactive.
What is the Goal of AARP’s Five Point Reform Plan?
AARP wants to improve conditions for everyone in nursing homes – residents and staff alike. The pandemic has caused unprecedented sadness and confusion and has created nursing home conditions, unlike anything we have seen before.
Finkel stated, “What has happened to our loved ones in nursing homes during the past 11 months is a tragedy. AARP New York stands ready to work with the Governor and Legislature to ensure it stops now and never happens again.”
Call our Nursing Home Lawyers if Your Loved One is the Victim of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
At Alonso Krangle, LLP, our lawyers represent nursing home abuse and neglect victims and their families.
Has someone you love suffered severe or fatal injuries while under the care of a nursing home? If so, call Alonso Krangle, LLP today at 800-403-6191 and find out if you are entitled to file a claim.