New York Senate bills S.5177, Sl4377, S.4893A
Over 15,000 people have died of COVID-19 in nursing homes and adult care facilities in New York in the least year. Because the state granted broad immunity to nursing home corporate executives in an April 2020 bill, few lawsuits have followed, despite innumerable horror stories. Championed by Governor Cuomo, who counts the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) as one of his biggest backers, the measure was passed a little-noticed item in a budget measure. It prohibited most suits against facilities, administrators and executives. As a result, New Yorkers who lost their loved ones under unacceptable circumstances were left with no legal recourse.
The original measure was broadly criticized, drawing repeal calls from New York Attorney General Letitia James as well as most of the membership of both legislative houses. The New York Legislature has reversed that measure with a series of bills that allow litigation against abusive and neglectful nursing home practices.
The legislation includes three bills:
- Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act: S.5177, sponsored by Senator Alessandra Biaggi, repeals the special liability protections granted to nursing homes and other healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Mandatory Translation of Rights and Information on Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: S.4377, sponsored by Senator Rachel May, requires nursing homes to inform residents of the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program, with translation by the Department of Health into New York’s six most common languages. Though the program is not new, many residents were unaware of it.
- Improved Certificate of Need Process: S.4893A, sponsored by Senator Gustavo Rivera, requires public disclosure of nursing home assets and ownership information, assuring greater transparency, particularly in proposals for change of ownership or operations.
The measure now goes to the Governor. Supermajorities in both the Senate and Assembly mean they could override a veto.
Jerrold Parker, founding partner of Parker Waichman LLP, explains that these measures were desperately needed: “While we recognize that COVID-19 has stretched some care facilities, we do not accept it as an excuse neglect or abuse. Transparency and accountability are critical parts of care. A family’s right to sue is the essential incentive for nursing homes provide quality care for vulnerable loves ones.”
Filing a Nursing Home Lawsuit
Parker Waichman has represented thousands of clients injured by nursing homes and other care facilities. If you or someone you know is interested in filing a lawsuit against a nursing home, please call 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER or visit the firm’s website at https://www.yourlawyer.com.