Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) today announced the introduction of legislation that will require nursing homes to submit an annual pandemic emergency plan to the New York State Department of Health for approval (A10394). The COVID19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities for one of our most high-risk populations: senior citizens. New York State must take swift action to address the inadequate preparation that COVID19 has highlighted for nursing homes to care for its residents and healthcare workers during a pandemic. Given the rapid spread of COVID19, it is critical that steps be taken to ensure that these facilities are fully prepared to respond to public health emergencies in the future.
This legislation will require nursing homes to submit an annual pandemic emergency plan to the Commissioner of Health, including plans for:
- Communicating the status of each nursing home resident to family members
- Protecting patients, staff, and visitors from infection
- Ensuring hospitalized residents be cleared of infection prior to readmission to the facility
- Preserving a residents place in the facility if they have been hospitalized
- Ensuring the facility maintains at least a two-month supply of personal protective equipment
The New York State Department of Health will be required to audit facilities for compliance annually.
The COVID19 pandemic unfolding in nursing homes across the country has sent chills into the heart and soul of every American. The rapid spread of COVID19 in nursing homes exposed a fatal flaw in pandemic planning and while there is much to address now, nursing homes must have a pandemic plan in place in order to prevent tragedies like we have seen with COVID19. Society judges you on how you treat its most vulnerable members and it is clear there is more work to be done, said Assembly Member Lentol.