Nursing home staffing law in effect, after delays

Nursing home staffing law in effect, after delays (7 p.m.)

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The New York State safe-staffing law for nursing homes has been facing delays for more than two years.

That was until the end of December, when a judge tossed a major lawsuit challenging the requirements set for nursing home staffing in the law.

Moving forward, nursing homes are subject to fines if they fail to meet them. Homes will have to maintain an average of 3 ½ hours of direct care per patient, each day. This care must be provided by a certified nurse aide, licensed practical nurse, or registered nurse. Of the 3 ½ hours, at least 2.2 hours of care per resident per day must be provided by a CAN and at least 1.1 hours of care per resident per day must be provided by a licensed nurse.

Penalties include up to a $2,000 dollar fine per day, for each day in a quarter that a facility fails to comply.

Marydel Wypych, advocate and chair with Elder Justice Committee of Metro Justice said she’s happy about this.

“That is a relief, but we still are looking to see that the Department of Health follows through on everything, all the implementation and enforcemnet,” she said.

Wypych said she’s been advocating for families over the course of the pandemic. Many, expressing concern for neglect and mistreatment.

“Some nursing homes, had staffing at levels of one staff person to care for 10, 15 or more residents, on a shift, and that’s just not appropriate.”

Nancy Hagemann of Brockport, said her mother has been a victim of staffing shortages in. She moved her mother into Waterview Heights Rehab and Nursing Center in Charlotte back in November, but has since moved her mother back home.

She said there have been cold meals, messes in the hallway, not enough staff to change clothes on time and more.

At one point, she said her mother had an accident and had feces in her wheelchair for two days, despite requests for someone to clean it up.

“So she also has a UTI,” said Hagemann. “So this was really important, I asked for UTI test for five days. And never got it. They finally did when I got a little louder.” Hagemann said her mother hadn’t eaten much for two days when she started experiencing dehydration and UTI symptoms.

Hagemann said she was left with no choice, but to remove her mother from Waterview, take her to the hospital for the UTI, and then bring her home.

“I’m doing it by myself right now, it’s been scary and difficult.”

Moving forward, she said she’ll continue to tell her story, and she hopes it will help other families, who may not have a voice.

“I’m going to continue to work with advocacy groups, do whatever I need to do,” she said.

Administration at Waterview Heights said no comment, but the company that owns the home released a statement in response to Hagemann’s story.

It reads:

“As to the family concern, we recognize that this is an incredibly difficult time of the year for our residents and their families to be apart from each other. Year-round, our facility and our employees work tirelessly to help provide care, quality of life and dignity to our residents. Please encourage any individual who contacts your news outlet to reach out to our facility to talk about their questions or concerns directly. Because protecting our residents’ privacy and dignity is important (and required) we, unfortunately, will not be able to provide any additional comment.

Regarding the New York State minimum staffing laws, we have kept abreast of the regulations. Our staff recruiters, human resource staff and scheduling personnel are well trained and will continue to work to maintain compliance with applicable Federal and State requirements.”

  • Bruce M. Gendron, MBA, LNHA
  • Vice President
  • The Grand Healthcare System

News 10 NBC reached out to the NYSDOH for comment on how it plans to enforce the requirements, but have not heard back.

There is a separate staffing law, also going into effect, that has to do with nursing home expenditures. The law requires homes to spend at least 70% of their revenue on resident-facing care, and 40% of that on direct care staff.