Friend: Nursing Homes Need Help to Meet Governor's Testing Requirements

May 15, 2020

Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats) has been in communication with area nursing homes over the new requirements set forth by Gov. Cuomo for expanded testing of residents and twice-a-week testing of staff. These long-term care facilities are financially struggling to keep up with the requirement. The assemblyman is calling for funding to be set aside in any new federal aid to help offset the costs for testing.

“Our local nursing homes and their administrators are trying their best to stay on top of COVID-19. They all know working cooperatively will lead to better outcomes for their residents, but the ramped-up testing requirement from the governor is proving to be financially difficult to manage,” said Friend. “The governor should set aside some of the funding from the next anticipated federal aid package to help pay for these tests. Investing in these tests is part of keeping our seniors, the most vulnerable population, protected from this dangerous disease.”

There have been 5,398 nursing home residents who died away from loved ones because of COVID-19. It was only recently that the governor had reversed a previous decision requiring nursing homes to take in patients still sick with COVID-19.

The governor’s new testing requirement threatens to limit staff even further when shortages of personnel are already being felt. Nursing facilities were to have submitted plans by today, May 15. Noncompliance to the order could be met with license suspension, revocation or a $2,000 per day fine. Even testing labs are currently unable to meet the increased demand at this time, with the Wadswoth Center, the State Health Department’s testing lab, having alerted many county health agencies that they are at capacity.