Nursing home legislation set to pass through committee this week

Health

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Legislation is in the works to promote better care at long-term care facilities in New York. A recent report from the State Attorney General’s Office found that many nursing homes did not comply with infection control policies, putting residents at risk. 

Now, several bills to make long-term care facilities safer are expected to head through committee this week. Democrat Senator Rachel May who chairs the Aging Committee says a big issue remains visitation. “There’s evidence that people have died just because they didn’t have family members coming in, paying attention to whether they were eating or whether they were taking care of themselves in the most basic ways or if the staff had been aware of an infection or something like that,” she said. 

May is sponsoring legislation that would allow residents to designate someone for personal care visitation and it would expand compassionate care visits. “We really need people to be able to get back into nursing homes and see their loved ones and so this has been a long time in process, but I’m really excited that it’s coming up in committee this week, and hopeful that we’ll vote on it next week,” May said.

She’s also has a bill to reform the long-term care ombudsman program, and another that has already passed in the Senate to “reimagine” the long-term care task force.

“We’re going to pass a number of bills through committee this week that have to do with oversight of nursing homes, with transparency communication with residents and their families about what’s been going on in nursing homes, infection control, PPE, just the whole gamut and also reporting of both deaths and other outcomes in nursing homes,” she said.

While Republicans have called on May to issue the Department of Health a subpoena over the nursing home deaths, May says, “The subpoena issue I do think is kind of moot at this point.”

She notes one of the bills lawmakers are planning to pass tomorrow through the health committee requires reporting of deaths of nursing home residents, even if they died in hospital, and it’s retroactive to March of last year. 

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