Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
New York to set minimum staffing levels for nursing homes

New York to set minimum staffing levels for nursing homes

  • 0

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Nursing homes in New York will have to provide a minimum level of staffing under a new bill that the Democratic-led Legislature planned to pass Tuesday.

New York will require nursing homes to provide a daily average of 3.5 hours of nursing care per resident, and post information about nursing staffing levels. The bill passed the Assembly on Tuesday and then headed for debate in the Senate.

Bill sponsor and Assemblymember Aileen Gunther said Tuesday that she didn't have an estimate of how many of more than 600 nursing homes in New York fail to reach that benchmark now. The original bill called for 4.1 hours per resident.

But Gunther called the bill an important first step to getting a handle on the extent of understaffing at New York's nursing homes, which have recorded 13,800 deaths of residents with COVID-19 amid the ongoing pandemic.

Gunther and other supporters — including unions representing nurses and other health care workers — said that the pandemic has revealed the cycle of understaffing, overwhelmed workers and burnout at nursing homes in the state.

“I can tell you that by addressing these issues that we’ll see a lot less burnout,” Gunther, a Democrat, said.

It was unclear whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign the bill, which would become law without his action after landing on his desk for 10 days. The governor had promised in 2018 to pass safe staffing levels through regulation, but he has yet to do so.

The state health department would be tasked with drawing up penalties, which could be higher or level depending on whether the nursing home has faced repeated violations, whether there is an ongoing state emergency and whether there is a local nurse labor shortage.

Assemblymember Josh Jensen, who previously worked at a nursing home, argued that nursing homes need flexibility and not governmental mandates. He said a bigger issue is years of cuts to Medicaid reimbursement for nursing homes in New York.

“This is going to dramatically increase costs for nursing homes without any guarantee that it will improve clinical outcomes,” Jensen, a Republican said.

Jensen and other critics urged lawmakers to instead wait to see if staffing levels improve in light of new state rules to require require nursing homes to spend at least 70% of their revenue on direct patient care, including 40% on staffers who work directly with residents.

The state budget sends $64 million to nursing home and acute care facilities to boost nurse staffing levels.

Lawmakers also planned Tuesday to pass bills to require every hospital to establish a staffing committee of administrators and nurses and other hospital workers who would draw up public, annual staffing plans. Those plans could include specific ratios for how many patients can be assigned to each nurse and the number of support staff in each unit.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Concerned about COVID-19?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pittsburgh-based United States Steel Corp. said Friday that it is canceling a $1.5 billion project to bring a state-of-the-art improvement to its Mon Valley Works operations in western Pennsylvania, saying the world has changed in the two years since it announced its intentions.

  • Updated

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina state Sen. Jeff Jackson had a sizeable fundraising advantage entering this month over other Democratic opponents in the 2022 U.S. Senate race, while a former Republican congressman running also has flush coffers so far, according to new campaign finance reports.

  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Thursday detailed steps to achieve an ambitious goal to conserve nearly one-third of America’s lands and waters by 2030, relying on voluntary efforts to preserve public, private and tribal areas while also helping tackle climate change and create jobs.

  • Updated

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in the U.S. Senate mounted an aggressive case Tuesday against Democrats' sweeping election and voter-access legislation, pushing to roll back proposals for automatic registration, 24-hour ballot drop boxes and other changes in an increasingly charged national debate.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News