Legislation introduced by New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblymember Aileen Gunther to establish nursing home staffing ratios doesn’t go far enough to protect New York’s seniors. The bill (S6346-Rivera/A7119-Gunther) is a step in the right direction, but community advocates for older adults share several major concerns with the legislation, and believe it would be improved by the following:
- Requiring facilities to have at least one registered nurse (RN) provide .75 hour per resident per day – recognizing that increased RN staffing hours correlate to better quality outcomes.
- Requiring an RN in the building at all times.
- Including a requirement to maintain all nursing staff at 4.1 hours per day per resident. This is the threshold identified by an important federal study as necessary to provide for the basic clinical needs of nursing home residents.
- Including clear enforcement guidelines with penalties for facilities not complying with nursing home staffing levels. These penalties should be determined by statute.
- Including a provision mandating that if the facility is unable to meet staffing minimums, they are prevented from admitting new residents until minimum thresholds are met.
“While the intent behind this bill is positive, much more is needed to protect our seniors who reside in nursing homes,” said Karen Nicolson, CEO of the Center for Elder Law & Justice. “We have been actively reaching out to state representatives to discuss how best to improve upon this legislation.”