By Assemblyman Al Stirpe
COVID-19 has ravaged our country and upended all our lives. However, one of the populations that has been hit hardest by the pandemic is nursing home residents. For a majority of 2020, residents of nursing homes were isolated from their family, friends, personal caregivers and other essential connections that are critical to their overall health.
Additionally, a report recently released by the Attorney General revealed that many facilities both failed to comply with safety protocols and suffered from shortages of PPE, tests and staff. Tragically, the report showed that the initially reported number of deaths in nursing homes was actually undercounted by up to 50 percent.
This treatment of nursing home residents and the burden it placed on their loved ones should never have been allowed to happen. That’s why the Assembly is taking action and passing a nursing home reform package to reimagine residential care facilities. The package includes legislation to increase oversight and transparency, prepare our health care system for future public health threats, guarantee safe visitation and crack down on facility operators who put profits over people.
Although vaccinations are taking place as quickly as possible and the end of the pandemic is on the horizon, the pain and trauma of COVID-19 will stay us for years to come. This legislation will help ensure we learn from the mistakes of the past year and provide all New Yorkers with the high-quality care they deserve.