State Legislature repeals nursing home immunity provision

State Legislature repeals nursing home immunity provision Photo: File photo, News10NBC.

Created: March 24, 2021 08:49 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York State Legislature Wednesday repealed the nursing home immunity provision that prevented health care facilities, administrators and executives from being held accountable for harm and damages incurred at facilities.

The provision gave liability immunity to doctors, hospitals, and healthcare workers at the beginning of the pandemic.

Just last week, News10NBC reported that federal prosecutors were investigating why nursing homes were included in the provision as part of its investigation into the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

New York Attorney General Letitia James praised the Legislature’s move to repeal the provision, saying she suggested it be done in her January 2021 report on her office’s investigations into COVID-19 in nursing homes.

That same report revealed the New York State Department of Health’s published nursing home death data may have been undercounted by as much as 50%.

James released the following statement Wednesday:

“As I outlined in my office’s January report into nursing homes, I had serious concerns about the immunity provision included in last year’s budget, and I called for that provision to be repealed. While it is reasonable to provide some protections for health care workers making impossible health care decisions in good faith during an unprecedented public health crisis, it would never be appropriate or just for nursing home owners to be given blanket immunity for causing harm to residents. I applaud the Legislature for taking this critical action and ensuring that no one can evade potential accountability for the devastating loss of life that occurred in New York’s nursing homes.”

The Legislature repealed the provision as part of a greater package of healthcare bills, including a bill that would make information related to nursing home assets and operations publicly available.

The act now heads to the governor.

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