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Bills proposed to hold nursing home owners accountable

December 28, 2018 06:25 PM

Following a year-long News10NBC investigation into the horrific conditions some were living in while being patients at Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, there's a new push to change state law to help keep people in nursing homes safe.  

News10NBC has been exposing the care and conditions inside Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center after more than a dozen patients and family members stepped forward with horror stories about the physical conditions, food, cleanliness and lack of staffing inside.

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Some of the more egregious accounts come from those who were rehabilitation patients and nearly lost limbs, they say, because of inadequate medical care.    

The CEO of the company that owns Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center refused to answer any of News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke's questions when she tracked him down at one of his downstate nursing homes.

He asked her to leave the property and then called the police.  

Lewke also went to Albany to find the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker.

Dr. Zucker's department is tasked with regularly inspecting nursing homes. "I've seen your reports and I've been following what you're doing and our entire team has been on this issue," he told News10NBC.

But Senator Robert Ortt of Lockport doesn't think that's good enough.

"In many cases, these people have nowhere else to go. This is their only spot, their only opportunity and so no matter how bad the service, no matter how terrible the care, they still stay there and the owner still gets paid," Ortt said at a press conferencing announcing new legislation to strengthen protections.

Ortt's set of bills would require independent quality monitors to enforce compliance with corrective plans when problems are identified. He also wants at least 40 percent of nursing home inspections to be conducted on nights, weekends and holidays.

Ortt's legislation, if approved, would also prevent current nursing home owners from buying new facilities while their current properties are facing violations and/or compliance issues.

"Look, I'm all for making money but if you're going to buy a nursing home and you're going into that business, you're going to make money the right way. You're not going to make it on the backs of our loved ones, on the backs of our seniors with providing them terrible, terrible care," Ortt added. 

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Credits

Jennifer Lewke

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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