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NY Bill Would Require Minimum Staff in Nursing Homes and Hospitals

After gaining widespread attention during the height of COVID-19, New York lawmakers passed legislation that will establish minimum staffing levels for nurses and other direct care staff that work in New York hospitals and nursing homes. For years, caregivers have complained about the stressful understaffing of these communities and how difficult it is to provide proper care to individuals. 

When New York was undergoing a mass spread of COVID-19, nurses and caregivers were beside patients and chronically understaffed. The public was outraged by the insufficient number of qualified people working in these nursing homes and pushed lawmakers to protect caregivers and the patients receiving assistance. 

What Are the Requirements of the NY Minimum Staffing Bill?

Many New York residents feel that nursing homes and hospitals haven’t been receiving proper service levels, and the outrage during the pandemic sparked lawmakers to propose these changes. These facilities have until the first of January 2022 to make the necessary adjustments, or they may face penalties. 

One of the bill’s main requirements is the minimum staffing, but there are other altering conditions. The following list shares the other requirements written in the staffing legislation:

  • Minimum staffing standards: The state health commissioner must establish minimum staffing standards for this condition. These include that each resident will have at least 2.2 hours of care provided by certified nurse aides and 1.1 hours by licensed practical nurses or registered nurses, equaling a total of at least 3.5 hours of nursing care per day.  
  • Publicly disclosing staffing levels: The legislation requires that they publicly disclose staffing levels to residents, families and staff to hold facilities accountable.  
  • Clinical staffing committees: More directed toward hospitals, these committees will have at least 50 percent nurses and direct care staff and focus on developing an annual staffing plan. The members will discuss the number of patients a nurse is assigned and the number of nurses and ancillary staff present on each unit and shift.
  • Independent advisory committee: This nine-member committee is in charge of evaluating staffing standards and other forms of measurable quality. This section is one of the bills that is also geared toward hospitals rather than nursing homes. 

The NYSNA President Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez expressed that the bills played a significant role in the rights, safety, and quality of healthcare for New York residents. However, some groups still feel that the legislation does little to cover the severe issue of caretakers and patients.

Concerns for the Health and Safety of Patients and Caretakers 

While the legislation implements essential changes within these facilities, some residents are still concerned that these regulations will still fall short in establishing proper quality care for their loved ones. Consumer advocacy groups argue that the bill should meet the necessary basic clinical needs for residents found in a nationwide study — which stated a minimum of 4.1 total care per resident. 

Another concern that the groups discuss is the unclear terminology found in the bill that they believe might allow for misinterpretation and may potentially allow nursing homes to deflect penalties for non-compliance. The changes made to the healthcare system for this bill are only a small step for making sure patients are given proper care and attention. 

Trust Experienced New York Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Making sure that our loved ones are adequately provided for is stressful. When you trust a facility, they should give the utmost care to your family member. If you discover that someone you care about isn’t properly taken care of, contact our team of experienced and compassionate nursing home abuse lawyers. At Dalli & Marino, we understand how disorienting and confusing the legal processes and documentation might be, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. 

To learn more about how our team can assist with your case, call (888) 465-8790 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.

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