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New York strengthens oversight of nursing homes

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2021 | Nursing Home Abuse

Entrusting the care of loved ones to a nursing home can be a painful decision. For people who have to make that decision, they are rightfully concerned about the quality of care their loved ones will receive. For the past year or more, a spotlight has been put upon how nursing homes manage infections to protect their residents and staff.

Nursing homes statewide must improve their care of infections

Recently, the New York legislature passed a bill aimed at increasing the safety and well-being of those residing in nursing homes. The legislation, which now heads to the governor’s desk for signature, directs the health commissioner to establish and implement an infection inspection audit and checklist on nursing homes.

The checklist includes more than a dozen core competencies nursing homes must adhere to, including staff training, infection control programs, investigatory plans, personal protective equipment, clinical care and communication. The audits are scheduled to begin October 1, 2021 and nursing homes will be inspected annually.

Nursing homes to be tiered to identify for follow up

The legislation provides three tiers of success depending on how an individual nursing home scores on its annual audit. Those that meet at least 85% of the checklist criteria will be deemed “proficient” at infection control competency and will require no further follow-up until their next annual audit.

Should a nursing home score between 60% and 84% on the checklist, it will be classified as “proficiency pending re-inspection”. With this classification, the nursing home will be inspected at least one more time prior to its next annual inspection.

For scores that fall below 60%, a nursing home will be considered “not proficient”, resulting in monthly audits until the nursing home passes the checklist with a score of at least 85%.

According to one Assemblyman, the bill is intended to ensure both the present safety and future readiness should new health crises emerge.  However, despite its best intentions the law cannot itself guarantee problems will not occur with nursing home care. Should something happen to a loved one, a lawsuit can be a vital option for obtaining necessary compensation from a negligent care facility.