A new law designed to safeguard nursing homes against future pandemic outbreaks and other public health emergencies is a good first step in providing vital protection to residents, AARP New York announced.
“AARP New York applauds Gov. Andrew Cuomo for quickly signing into law measures that will safeguard some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers,” AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel said. “The number of deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes is staggering and tragic. It must never happen again.”
Cuomo signed legislation drafted by Sen. Julia Salazar and Assembly Member Joseph Lentol (S8289-B/A10394-A) into law this week. This law will now require nursing homes to prepare annual pandemic plans and take other steps to better prepare for emergencies.
Nursing homes must also:
√ Update families of residents about their conditions daily if infected with the virus;
√ Once a week, update all residents and families and guardians on the number of infections and deaths at the facility, by electronic or such other means;
√ Provide all residents with daily access, at no cost, to remote videoconference or equivalent communication methods with family members and guardians;
√ Develop a protection plans against infection for staff, residents and families, including residents to be readmitted to the facility after being treated in the hospital;
√ Keep at least a two-month supply of personal protective equipment on hand, and;
√ Develop a plan to keep a resident’s place in the facility if the resident is hospitalized.
Over 6,000 nursing home residents have died from coronavirus in New York.
“We must work collectively across all levels of government, with the nonprofit and private sectors, to address structural inequities that adversely affect our older population and communities of color – and that have been highlighted and exacerbated by the pandemic,” Finkel added. “It is a matter of life and death.”
AARP continues to advocate on behalf of all nursing home and long-term care residents, as well as the 2.5 million AARP members in the state.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.