Legislative Bulletin: State Lawmakers Await Federal Support to Close Budget Gap
May 15, 2020
Urge Lawmakers to Reject Twice-Weekly Testing Mandate on NH and ACF
On May 10th, the Governor issued Executive Order 202.30, requiring nursing homes and adult care facilities to provide or arrange for the twice weekly testing for COVID-19 of all their employees, contract staff, medical staff, operators and administrators.
LeadingAge NY recognizes that this requirement is impossible to meet in the current environment, due to shortages of testing supplies, insufficient community testing, and limited lab capacity. Right now, nursing homes and adult care facilities need access to testing, equipment, and financial, and community support rather than impossible mandates.
We will continue to advocate and support our members in every way we can, including remote meetings with legislators and constant communication with the Department of Health, the Executive and the press. However, it is vital that lawmakers hear directly from you!
Please take a moment to send your lawmakers the following letters, urging them to reject the twice-weekly testing mandate:
Connect with Lawmakers in the Continued Fight Against COVID-19
Although this time is exceedingly difficult, it poses a unique opportunity to show lawmakers the hard work that you are doing now, and are always doing, to keep residents healthy, happy and safe.
We need lawmakers to understand the situation that long-term care providers are in as you work to protect vulnerable seniors from COVID-19. We strongly encourage members to educate lawmakers directly about your organization’s challenges and what you are seeing on the front lines.
Pease call lawmakers today and share your story! Click here to find your legislator’s contact information. While on the phone, you can discuss the following issues that may or may not be impacting your specific organization:
- Inadequate supply of patient protective equipment (PPE)
- Overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients
- Staffing shortages
- Testing challenges
- Cohorting challenges (not having enough staff, COVID units are full, etc)
- Current financing challenges and the need for financial support
- Reactive policy making from the Executive and Department of Health
- The inability to get answers and clarification in a timely manner
In your conversations with legislative offices, make sure you are clear and speaking specifically to your organization’s situation and what your biggest issues are in the fight against coronavirus.
Additionally, we encourage senior housing and home and community-based services providers to send their lawmakers the following letters:
- Support Senior Housing Providers on the Front Lines of COVID-19
- Support HCBS Providers on the Front Lines of COVID-19
Thank you for your advocacy efforts during this unprecedented time! It will make all the difference in providers receiving the support they need!
LeadingAge New York in the News
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 State of Emergency, LeadingAge NY has been engaged with the press, ensuring that the perspective and concerns of non-profit long-term care providers are understood. When the Governor announced his most recent action on nursing homes and adult care facilities earlier this week, LeadingAge NY President and CEO Jim Clyne did not hesitate to speak out on the issue. This week, Jim was quoted in several articles from accredited news publications, some of which we have shared below:
- New York elder care facilities balk at state's twice-a-week testing mandate – Times Union
- Industry raises questions about new nursing home testing requirements – Politico New York
- Nursing Homes, Family Members Face Challenges During Pandemic – Spectrum News
- Nursing homes lobby for immunity from lawsuits amid pandemic – Axios
- Nursing Homes Are Hot Spots in the Crisis. But Don’t Try Suing Them. – New York Times
- COVID Testing Capacity Inadequate to Meet Demands of Expected Testing Surge – LeadingAge NY Press Release
LeadingAge NY will continue to stay engaged with the press. Members are encouraged to do the same and tell their story in local news outlets when appropriate. For questions about media messaging, members can contact Ami Schnauber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Lawmakers Await Federal Support to Close Budget Gap
Governor Cuomo announced on Tuesday that the State needs $61 billion in federal support to avoid cuts to healthcare and education. New York's economy has already lost nearly a quarter of its sales tax revenue in April as the coronavirus pandemic has virtually frozen the state's economy over the last two months. State lawmakers are struggling to determine how to address the mounting budget deficit without knowing if and how much federal support Congress will provide New York. “It’s kind of like we’re circling the airport till they tell us it’s safe to land,” Heastie said in an interview with Spectrum News.
Congress is currently working on the next round of federal relief legislation; however, legislators may have to act before those negotiations conclude. Later today, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is expected to report on just how bad the state’s fiscal position really is, after which the Cuomo administration is expected to present a detailed budget. Lawmakers would then have 10 days to offer fiscal plans of their own.
Both Heastie and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins have said they expect their respective chambers to meet later in the year to chime in on the fiscal situation. Representatives for both leaders, however, did not respond to requests to clarify whether state lawmakers would reconvene later in the month even if the fate of federal funding remains in limbo.
Contact Congress Today for Aging Services Relief
Congress is considering the next major coronavirus relief package. NOW is the time to make your voice heard as the House of Representatives has started introducing key provisions. We are pleased with key provisions in the new Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or the HEROES Act, but want to ensure all aging services provider needs are met. We need you to act now by emailing and calling your elected officials.
Help us ensure Congress includes these needed resources in the next coronavirus legislation. Additional LeadingAge action alerts specific to affordable senior housing and home health care can be found here.
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.
Additionally, LeadingAge NY has developed a compendium of federal and state COVID-19 guidance specific to nursing homes or of a general nature, arrayed by topic in reverse chronological order. We will be updating this document frequently so members can easily find the most recent and relevant guidance.
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; email@example.com
Sarah Daly; 518.867.8845; firstname.lastname@example.org