ALBANY – Legislation that aims to promote better attention at long-term care facilities across New York State is moving forward in the wake of the State Attorney General’s report finding many nursing homes did not comply with infection control policies, putting residents at risk.
So far, several bills are expected to head through committee this week at the state capitol.
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,” explained May.
The Senator sponsors legislation that would allow residents to designate someone for personal care visitation and 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 furthered.
Senator May also has a bill to reform the long-term care ombudsman program; and another 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 believes it is moot at this point.
She notes one of the bills lawmakers are planning to pass Tuesday 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 2020.