Assembly Passes Second Round of Nursing Home Reform Bills

Builds on legislative package passed last week

The Assembly passed six more bills Tuesday aimed at reforming nursing home practices. The legislation focuses on quality improvement, oversight and transparency, and enforcement. It builds on the comprehensive package of 10 bills that were passed in the Assembly last week.

“Nursing home reform needed to take center stage after the Covid-19 pandemic intensified issues with patient safety and accountability,” Assemblymember Jon Rivera said. “We have the ability to make real changes when it comes to quality of care and transparency, and that is what we are doing.”

An independent report issued by Attorney General Tish James in January showed the Cuomo administration underreported the number of nursing home deaths by as much as 50%. A federal investigation into the state’s handling of pandemic and nursing homes is underway.

“We can’t do our best to protect those in nursing homes if we don’t have accurate information,” added Rivera. “Family members need accurate information so they can make the best decisions for their loved ones. All of this legislation is a big step in the right direction to ensure that our most vulnerable population is receiving the quality of care they deserve and that there is a system of transparency and accountability in place.”

Assemblymember Rivera co-sponsored three of the bills: A.1010-A, A.5685-A, and A.6052-A.

Bill Details

  • A.232-C: Increases the monetary penalties for Public Health Law violations and provides support for the Nursing Home Quality Improvement Demonstration Program
    • These increases are long-overdue as the $2,000-floor amount and the repeat violation penalties haven’t been updated since 1990 and 2008, respectively
  • A.1010-A: Directs DOH to make the results of all nursing home and residential health care facility inspections publicly available during the COVID-19 state of emergency and after
  • A.3131-A: Creates new guidelines for residential health care facilities during a disease outbreak that include increasing data reporting, ensuring assistance is provided to facilities to ensure staff and patient safety and authorizing DOH to swiftly step in to address emergency situations in facilities
  • A.5684-A: Strengthens the current system by requiring nursing home operators to provide notification of certain contracts and agreements to all residents, their family or guardians, staff and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman and requiring more thorough review of nursing home character and competency when approving facilities for operation.
  • A.5685-A: Requires nursing home operators to spend 70% of revenue on resident care, and a significant portion specifically on direct care nursing staff beginning in 2022
    • Operators who fail to comply with the stated percentages would owe the difference to the state Department of Health (DOH) to be used in the Nursing Home Quality Improvement Demonstration Program
  • A.6052: Requires residential health care facilities to provide notice to all residents and their family or caregivers within 12 hours of an infection being detected in the facility
    • Facilities must also be prepared to provide separate accommodations for residents at risk of infecting others