A full repeal of immunity from civil suits for nursing homes, as well as limits on the expansion of private nursing homes and increased transparency measures were among the provisions in a package of nursing home reform proposals announced Monday by Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried.
The bills are being advanced after Democrats in the state Senate approved their own nursing home reforms last week.
Lawmakers have been spurred to take further action on nursing home policy and regulations in New York amid an ongoing controversy surrounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo's handling of long-term care facilties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuomo has come under scrutiny over fatality reporting methods as well as a since-rescinded order that did barred nursing homes from turning away COVID-positive residents.
The state now estimates more than 15,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died in the alst year.
Gottfried's bills would further repeal immunity granted to nursing homes last year. Lawmakers approved a partial repeal last year, but left protections retroactive to last spring in place for the facilities.
Another measure would limit the use of psychotropic drugs. And Gottfried backed the creation of anti-microbial stewardship programs in hospitals.
"We also need laws to make nursing home operators spend more money on patient care, not profits and administrative waste," Gottfried said. "For-profit nursing homes, which have grown from one-third to two-thirds of facilities, have especially poor patient-to-staff ratios, as well as generally higher patient death rates, infection rates, and instances of bedsores. It’s time to halt the expansion of for-profit nursing homes in the New York state 'market.' Nursing homes should be operated to care for people, not as cash-generating profit centers."