Roughly 6,000 nursing home residents have died during the pandemic in New York State.
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities for one of the country’s most high-risk populations: our senior citizens.
Spectrum News reports in the article “Nursing Homes Could Be Required to Have Pandemic Plan” reports that a proposed bill in that state would require nursing homes to have plans for future pandemics, make those plans readily available on websites, provide regular updates on the status of patients and establish protection plans for staff and residents.
In addition, communication via videoconferencing must be made available for residents.
The bill would also mandate that a pandemic plan preserve a resident’s place in a nursing home after hospitalization is through. It would also include provisions for the facilities to have a minimum two-month supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The New York State Department of Health will be required to audit facilities annually for compliance.
“The nature of COVID19 exposed a tragic vulnerability among one of our most high-risk populations: our elderly,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat. “The rapid spread of the virus in nursing homes exposed a fatal flaw in pandemic planning and it is clear that more has to be done to protect nursing home residents and its healthcare workers.”
New York’s response to nursing homes during the crisis has come under some scrutiny. Part of that has been a March 25 order that required the facilities to take in COVID-positive patients.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has partially reversed that directive, by banning hospitals from discharging people to nursing homes who are still positive for the virus.
Cuomo has also placed some of the blame on the CDC guidelines for permitting nursing homes to take COVID residents. However, he didn’t raise the issue in a recent meeting with President Trump.
Twice weekly testing of nursing home and adult care facility staff is now underway. The testing capacity and supply has increased in New York over the past month.
The bill must still be considered by Governor Cuomo for approval.