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Hochul signs legislation to protect nursing home residents from infection, keep loved ones informed


Thu, Dec 8th 2022 08:30 am

Legislation requires nursing homes to give residents, authorized family members & guardians timely notice when an infection is detected

√ Ensures facilities have a plan to accommodate exposed or infected residents to stop infection from spreading to others

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday signed legislation that will require residential health care facilities to “swiftly update residents as well as their family members and guardians when an infection is detected within the facility. It also requires nursing homes to have a plan in place to accommodate exposed or infected residents to stop the spread of the infection.”

"New Yorkers living in nursing homes deserve the highest quality of care, and their families deserve to know that their loved ones are safe," Hochul said. "With this legislation, we will ensure every facility is prepared to protect residents from exposure after an infection is detected, while also improving communication to make sure residents and family members are notified of the situation in a timely manner. This is a critical step to ensure nursing homes are taking the right measures to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers."

Hochul’s team said, “Legislation S.1785A/A.6052 will expand the existing pandemic emergency plan to improve communication by requiring nursing homes to inform residents and their loved ones of an infection. It will also require facilities to prepare a plan or procedure for accommodations for residents during an infectious disease outbreak, which will help ensure every nursing home is ready and able to effectively place residents in the event of an infection for their safety and the safety of others.”

New York State Sen. James Skoufis said, "The COVID-19 pandemic taught us many necessary, but deeply painful, lessons. A direct result of our 2020 hearings surrounding nursing home safety, this legislation will ensure these facilities are prepared when future infection threats arise, and will empower families of our ill and elderly to make informed decisions about their care. We must never allow our residential care facilities to be so blindsided again."

Assembly member Jennifer Lunsford said, "When COVID hit, residents of nursing homes and their loved ones were left flat-footed. Nursing homes found themselves unprepared for the public health emergency, and residents and loved ones were left in the dark. The bill aims to prevent similar devastation in the future by requiring infection updates and planning measures in residential health care facilities. Transparency and planning from these facilities during public health emergencies is vital as we continue to recover from the COVID pandemic. We can never let this happen to our most vulnerable New Yorkers ever again."

In December 2021, the governor signed a package of four pieces of legislation to support long-term care facilities and provide assistance to the system. The legislation directed the commissioner of health to implement an infection inspection audit and checklist on nursing homes; enacted a series of reforms to the state long-term care ombudsman program and related programs to increase accessibility for residents of nursing homes and residential care facilities; established the "reimagining long-term care task force" to study the state of long-term care services in the state; and directed the commissioner of economic development, in consultation with the commissioners of health, labor and the Office of Children and Family Services to study, develop and implement a long-term strategy to support the growth of the caregiving industry in New York. 

Hochul has also supported investments in the long-term care ombudsman program, reimbursement for nursing homes, additional funding for staffing, as well as capital funding for nursing home transformation, including the promotion of the nursing home greenhouse model, to promote high-quality long-term care for all.

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