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DOH Issues DAL Regarding Legislation Establishing Bill of Rights for LGBT Residents and People Living with HIV in Nursing Homes and ACFs

The Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) to nursing homes and adult care facilities (ACFs) regarding the legislation passed last year that establishes a Bill of Rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) residents and people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in nursing homes and ACFs. The law takes effect May 28, 2024.

The law reinforces existing prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status, and requires the provision of staff training. Click here for background on this issue.

The DAL provides a summary of the law, including the requirement that ACFs and nursing homes post notices about their non-discrimination policies. To support compliance with this law, DOH provides language in the DAL attachment to be posted alongside the facility’s current non-discrimination policy in all places and on all materials where such policy is posted. Additionally, DOH strongly encourages nursing homes and ACFs to review their existing policies and procedures and update as appropriate to ensure compliance with these requirements.

As noted above, the law also requires that at least once every two years, each facility staff member who works directly with residents receive training on cultural competency focusing on residents who identify as LGBT and/or residents living with HIV [§ 2803-c-2(7)(a)]. The law directs the Commissioner of Health to develop the training, in consultation with the Director of the State Office for the Aging (SOFA) and those with expertise in the legal and social challenges faced by LGBT older adults and people living with HIV as they age and reside in long term care facilities.

LeadingAge NY has inquired with DOH regarding the status of the training required in the law, but we have not yet received an update. We met with the Department in January 2024 regarding the status of the training the State is to be developing to comply with another law [A.612 (Dinowitz)/S.831 (Rivera)] that requires that State-approved education or training programs required for certification or recertification of home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nurse aides include training in working with patients of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities or expressions. This training is also to be developed by the State, and providers must wait for that training to be developed to comply with the law, despite the December 2023 effective date. During this meeting, we urged the State to address the training requirements in both laws in a comprehensive manner to avoid duplication.

LeadingAge NY will provide additional information on the implementation of this legislation as it becomes available. Questions regarding the DAL can be directed to DOH at nhinfo@health.ny.gov or acfinfo@health.ny.gov.

Contact: Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828