New legislation would help with nursing home staffing, among other issues

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ALBANY, NY – The push to make changes to health policy in New York continues, following the state Attorney General’s lengthy report on COVID-19 and nursing homes.

While the report found an “undercount” of nursing home resident deaths, it also highlighted several other issues like significant under-staffing.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more on proposed legislation that would set new standards.

((Aileen Gunther, NYS Assemblymember))
We have seen this year, what happened in long-term care facilities and also acute care facilities. We see that there’s a burnout rate from nurses. They’re leaving the field.

And, in order to reduce the issue of understaffing in healthcare facilities Assemblymember Aileen Gunther is sponsoring the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act.

The proposal has bipartisan support in the state legislature, and the support of the New York State Nurses Association.

The concept is to have enough staff at healthcare facilities to properly take care of patients.

((Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, NYSNA President, RN))
This going back from sending patients with COVID from nursing homes to hospitals, then hospitals got overwhelmed, they were told to send them back to the nursing homes and even in the transfer process patients died because neither place was capable of caring adequately for these patients.

The New York State Nurses Association says the legislation would set nurse to patient ratios by unit at hospitals.

And, at nursing homes it would set minimum care hours per resident, per day.

((Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, NYSNA President, RN))
It’s critical to have enough hours of care for these patients to not only provide for what they ask for but to predict what they might need because they can’t always advocate for themselves.

While some argue that if the legislation is approved, facilities would need to hire thousands more healthcare workers, while there is already a shortage, driving up wages, Sheridan-Gonzalez says it would incentivize nurses and draw more to the field.

((Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, NYSNA President, RN))
I’m sure that they would come back if they knew that they were going to practice under safe conditions and be able to provide the hands-on care that they went into the profession to provide.

The bill passed through the Assembly Health Committee this morning and now heads to the Codes Committee.

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