NYS Senate passes bills aimed at reforming nursing homes

Regional News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The New York State Senate has passed a legislative package designed to better protect nursing home residents across the state.

Here are the bills that were passed:

  • Patient Care Ratio Reporting: This bill, S.4336A, sponsored by Senator Gusatvo Rivera, directs the
    Commissioner of Health to establish a “Direct Patient Care Ratio” that would require all nursing
    homes to spend at least 70% of a facility’s revenue on direct patient care.
  • Publication of Nursing Home Ratings: This bill, S.553, sponsored by Senator James Sanders Jr.,
    requires that the most recent Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rating of every
    nursing home be prominently displayed on the home page of the Department of Health’s website and at each nursing home facility’s website and displayed at the facility for view by the general public.
  • Reimagining Long-Term Care Task Force: This bill, S.598B, sponsored by Senator Rachel May,
    enacts the “Reimagining Long-Term Care Task Force” to create a task force studying the state of both
    home-based and facility-based long-term care services in the state, and to make recommendations on potential models of improvement to long-term care services for older New Yorkers.
  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Reform Act: This bill, S.612A, sponsored by Senator
    Rachel May, creates “The Long-term Care Ombudsman Program Reform Act” by expanding the
    current program to be more accessible and available to seniors and their families, while promoting the volunteer advocate program, and improve interactions between DOH and the Ombudsman program regarding complaints.
  • Allowing Compassionate Care-Giving Visitors: This bill, S.614B sponsored by Senator Rachel
    May, creates a standardized program to allow personal care and compassionate care visitors at nursing homes.
  • Infection Inspection Audit: This bill, S.1783 sponsored by Senator James Skoufis, directs the
    Department of Health to establish and implement an infection control inspection audit and checklist for residential care facilities.
  • Quality Assurance Committees: This bill, S.1784A sponsored by Senator James Skoufis, requires
    adult care facilities to include “quality assurance committees” in their quality assurance plans
  • Requirements for Transfer, Discharge and Voluntary Discharge: This bill, S.3058 sponsored by
    Senator Gustavo Rivera, creates requirements for the transfer, discharge and voluntary discharge of residents from residential healthcare facilities
  • Standards for Ownership of Nursing Homes: This bill, S.4893 sponsored by Senator Gustavo
    Rivera, requires more review of ownership of nursing homes through the certificate of need process — including consideration of past violations at other facilities by owners – and requires more notice to the public during the CON process.
  • Department of Health Death Records: This bill, S.3061A sponsored by Senator Gustavo Rivera,
    requires the Department of Health to record COVID-19 deaths of nursing home residents that died in hospitals to be recorded as a “nursing home” death and require the Department of Health to update and share data it receives with hospitals and nursing homes on communicable diseases.
  • Transparency of Violations: This bill, S.3185 sponsored by Senator James Skoufis, requires
    residential health care facilities to disclose in writing to potential residents and their family members the website where a list of violations and other actions taken against the facility can be found.

“For nursing home workers, residents, and those who have lost loved ones, this past year has been infuriating and tragic. We know the devastation the pandemic has brought to our nursing homes, and it has made us acutely aware that fundamental reform of our nursing home system is long overdue. The legislation we are passing today will tackle all facets of the nursing home industry and will deliver accountability, transparency, and common-sense reforms. Nursing home workers deserve safer working conditions. Nursing home residents deserve safer living conditions. Families of those in nursing homes deserve to know that their loved ones are safe and receiving the best care possible. Altogether, this legislation is a significant step forward for our entire state.”

Sen. Sean Ryan, member of the Senate Health Committee

The bills also must be passed by the New York State Assembly before they can be signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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