The official end to the state’s pandemic disaster declaration has had the unintended consequence of negating a recent law designed to ensure nursing homes were accessible to visitors, according to Senate Aging Committee Chair Rachel May.
The law, which was passed this spring by state lawmakers to address the strict visitation policies at nursing home over the past year, only applied during the official state of emergency that ended on June 24. Since then, “many nursing homes have reverted to the harsh limitations on visits that preceded those new rules,” according to a July 12 letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo from May and a majority of her Democratic colleagues.
“We hear on a daily basis from outraged constituents, reporting that nursing homes continue to limit visitation to brief visits of 30 minutes once or twice a week, to require lengthy advance notice, and/or to prevent family members from going to their loved ones’ rooms,” reads the letter.
The senators want the state Department of Health to roll back any rules or regulations that restrict access beyond the system implemented as the result of the state’s pandemic visitation law. If the administration doesn’t act, May told the Capitol Pressroom that legislation will be introduced to force the department to make the facilities more accessible.
“We may consider fines on nursing homes that are preventing people from having visitors. There are all kinds of things that we are throwing around, but for right now, we hope the governor will do the right thing,” the Syracuse Democrat said.
May – Visitation Letter to Executive by Capitol Pressroom on Scribd