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As crisis heats up, Cuomo seeks nursing home reform laws

In the midst of the controversy over nursing home deaths during COVID-19, state Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced sweeping nursing home reform legislation to increase transparency, hold nursing home operators accountable for misconduct and help ensure facilities are prioritizing patient care over profits as part of the 30-day amendments.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing health equity and access to care issues among all communities, however, the State’s minority communities and older adults have been disproportionately affected. These reforms would make permanent the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to improve the health and safety of nursing home residents, as well as the quality of services in nursing home facilities.

“Every day, families across the state entrust the safety and health of their loved ones to nursing homes and as this unprecedented public health crisis has shown, some performed admirably, but some did not,” Cuomo said. “Facilities have put profits over care for far too long and as we look forward, we must learn from the past and prepare for the future. These facilities must be transparent and we have to have the tools necessary for holding bad actors accountable – that is the only way families will have peace of mind and I won’t sign a budget that doesn’t include these common-sense reforms.”

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East President George Gresham said, “Governor Cuomo has introduced a strong proposal that will significantly increase the accountability of nursing home owners and require them to invest their revenues in providing quality resident care rather than diverting taxpayer dollars to excessive profits, including those hidden in transactions with related corporations. We are very glad that nursing home reform will be part of the upcoming budget negotiations and look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to see it enacted.”

This legislation aims to improve the safety and quality of New York’s nursing homes through a series of reforms that increase transparency around nursing home staffing, expenditures and ownership; hold operators accountable for violations of the Public Health Law and other misconduct; and ensure nursing home facilities are prioritizing patient care and safety over profits and adequate funding is spent on direct patient care and resident staffing.

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