Legislative Bulletin: New Bill Aimed at Nursing Homes in Response to COVID-19
May 1, 2020
Prior Legislative Priorities Laid Aside in Face of COVID-19
The Legislature’s timeline for a return to session remains vague, with more rumors that they will be back in mid or late May. However, the focus of the legislative work ahead is becoming more clear. According to an article from Buffalo News, lawmakers have introduced more than 60 COVID-focused bills this month, many coming from New York City lawmakers.
Lawmakers have not returned to Albany since the budget was passed in early April. But the added time in their districts – and time spent hearing from constituents – is evident in the bills being introduced. One COVID related bill mandates that the Cuomo administration now give lawmakers a report on the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on minority communities. Another requires regular reporting on the state’s supply of ventilators. There are also various price-gouging bills aimed at preventing exorbitant prices many consumers or health facilities had to pay for masks or cleaning supplies.
As the long-term implications of Coronavirus present themselves, lawmakers say more and more bills will be added to the expanding list of COVID-inspired public health legislation. And with that, it seems that these COVID-related proposals will be the focus of the remainder of 2020 legislative work, pushing previous proposals to the backburner.
New Bill Aimed at Nursing Homes in Response to COVID-19
This week, Assembly Member Ron Kim introduced a bill aimed at increasing nursing home oversight during a state of emergency involving a disease outbreak. The bill (A.10350) requires the Department of Health (DOH) to issue guidelines to all nursing homes on proper medical procedures, which include but are not limited to:
- maintenance and record-keeping of daily personal protective equipment (PPE) usage
- frequent communications with residents and their loved ones of any confirmed or suspected infections within the facility
- informing residents of alternative care options, and
- ensuring at least three daily communications between the resident and their relatives.
This bill is likely the first of many that will be aimed at long-term care providers in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. LeadingAge NY is already setting the stage to advocate against this bill and others like it that may arise. We are setting up meetings with health chairs, staff and senior staff of both houses to ensure they understand the substantial challenges that our members are facing. However, it is vital that lawmakers hear directly from you before they return to Albany.
We need lawmakers to understand the unique and at times overwhelming challenges that long-term care providers are facing as we work to protect vulnerable seniors from COVID-19. We strongly encourage members to educate lawmakers directly about your organization’s situation and what you are seeing on the front lines.
Please take a moment to send your lawmakers the following letters:
- Support Nursing Homes on the Front Lines of COVID-19
- Support ACF/AL on the Front Lines of COVID-19
- Support Senior Housing Providers on the Front Lines of COVID-19
- Support HCBS Providers on the Front Lines of COVID-19
We also encourage members to call their legislators directly, reiterating your extraordinary challenges and concerns. Click here to find your legislator’s contact information. If necessary, LeadingAge NY members can reference our talking points and fact sheet on COVID-19 fatality data while speaking with lawmakers and/or the press.
Celebrate Your Frontline Heroes
It is no secret that our industry is facing a good deal of negative press these days. Nursing homes specifically have increasingly been a focus of news headlines and the Governor’s press conferences. But we know that what is being portrayed in the media is not the real story!
Let’s flood social media with the great work your staff are doing on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis and the positive experiences your residents are having despite restrictions. You know your organization is providing stellar care and services. You have positive success stories to share. Let’s take charge of the messaging!
Submit your stories to Jacqueline Colafemina at email@example.com, and LeadingAge NY will help get your message out!
Additionally, we encourage members to share the hope and heroism that you are witnessing in your facilities every day with your lawmakers. While it is important that legislators understand your challenges, they should equally understand your successes.
LeadingAge’s Response to Yesterday’s White House Event
LeadingAge National president and CEO Katie Smith Sloan attended yesterday’s “Protecting America’s Seniors” White House event. Remarks at the event focused on:
- A new Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes
- Planned FEMA PPE Care Packages to Nursing Homes
- CARES Act Funding to State Survey Agencies to Increase Inspections
- New CMS Interim Rule and New Waivers
LeadingAge’s assessment is that the announcements of intended actions are wholly insufficient. For weeks, LeadingAge members have been living in fear as infections and death tolls climbed, not knowing whether the equipment, testing, and support they need to protect the vulnerable seniors they serve would arrive in time. Yesterday’s announcements fell far short of what's needed. Click here to view LeadingAge’s media response to the event and keep an eye out for a full analysis from LeadingAge coming soon.
LeadingAge & LeadingAge NY Coronavirus Resources
LeadingAge NY is closely following all COVID-19 news and doing our best to keep members informed of updates, recommendations and guidelines from the Department of Health (DOH). We encourage members to keep an eye out for email updates as well as visit our Coronavirus Resources page for the latest news and guidance. We also have re-organized our Member Q&A website so members can more easily navigate and search by service line.
LeadingAge NY is hosting COVID-19 Weekly Update calls, which are held on Mondays from 11 am – 12 pm. You can click here to join the call from your computer, android or apple device. Or you can join the call by dialing in: 877 853 5257 (Toll Free); Webinar ID: 852 964 255.
LeadingAge National is also providing helpful resources to keep members informed of the latest. National resources include:
- Coronavirus Resources Page
- COVID-19 Group in the MyLeadingAge Member Community - LeadingAge members can hear from one another and share best practices for dealing with the coronavirus
- Coronavirus Daily Member Update calls: Live online updates are held five days a week: Monday-Friday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. ET. Past call recordings are available here and you can register here for future calls.
Contact: Ami Schnauber; 518.867.8854; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Daly; 518.867.8845; email@example.com