New York State evaluates nursing home staffing

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ALBANY, NY – A measure to improve staffing levels at nursing homes is being discussed amongst New York State lawmakers.

As NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabinaca shows us, some say the legislation is desperately needed, while others say it will place a huge financial burden on the facilities.

A proposal in the state legislature sets a standard of 3.5 hours of care per patient per day at nursing homes.

The legislation builds on other nursing home reforms taken up this session like capping profits, and repealing a nursing home immunity measure granted during the start of the pandemic.

Senator Gustavo Rivera who sponsors the bill in the Senate says 38 other states have standards when it comes to nursing home staffing levels.

((Gustavo Rivera, NYS Senator)) Certainly, we have to protect these folks and I believe that this will certainly do that.

((Rachel May, NYS Senator)) This is really necessary for just the health, the mental health, and the humanity of how we treat people in nursing homes.

Despite moving through the Senate Health Committee, the legislation has faced criticism from other lawmakers that the new regulations will put a heavy financial burden on the facilities.

((Patrick Gallivan, NYS Senator)) My concern would be that their ability to still be around after absorbing these costs without any additional revenues to provide the care first and second to be able to find the nurses to be able to do it.

Stephen Hanse with the New York State Health Facilities Association says the “legislation ignores the reality of the long-term workforce crisis” in the state.

And, that the state should “increase Medicaid reimbursement to nursing homes before imposing staffing mandates.”

((Stephen Hanse, President & CEO NYS Health Facilities Association, NYS Center for Assisted Living)) We fully support staffing levels, but you need two things. You need the staff who are ready, willing and able to work and you need the financial resources to pay that staff and right now New York lacks both of them.

The legislation is expected to be taken up in the Assembly Health Committee tomorrow.

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