The influential Greater New York Hospital Association is urging lawmakers to not rollback a provision that granted nursing homes immunity from lawsuits during the coronavirus pandemic.
The group on Tuesday circulated a memorandum of opposition to the proposal, which was part of the April state budget agreement.
But lawmakers are reconsidering the immunity provision after more than 6,300 nursing home residents have died during the pandemic, and the number is likely higher given some patients likely dying in hospitals.
The state Legislature is meeting for severl days this week to consider a range of bills, including measures related to the pandemic.
Ken Raske, the president and CEO of the Greater Hospital Association of New York, has worked closely with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration during the pandemic.
In the memo to lawmakers released with Raske's name, the group aruged the immunity is necessary for nursing homes to operate, and does not cover reckless or illegal actions.
"This means that the immunity law will apply very differently depending on the facts on the ground (i.e., whether there is a surge or a lull in the pandemic)," the group wrote in the memo. "This crucial flexibility is fair, given that no one can predict with certainty what the virus has in store for us in the coming weeks and months."
A joint public hearing of the state Assembly and Senate is planned for next month on how the pandemic affected nursing homes and long-term care facilities.