Hochul delays law to boost spending on care, cap nursing home profits
Bethany Bump reports in the Times Union that Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order Jan. 31 extending a statewide disaster declaration and postponing a law that would require nursing homes to boost spending on resident care and staffing while capping profits at five percent. The law is now suspended through at least March 1. Two new reports found that the nursing homes suing to block the law would have reported over $510 million in “excess” profits had the law been in effect in 2019. “Nursing homes are entrusted to provide decent care and dignity for our most vulnerable residents,” said Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a group that advocates for better nursing home care. “The fact that so many joined in this lawsuit to avoid even modest financial accountability speaks volumes about the industry’s priorities. Is there anything that we can do to get them to stop putting profits over patients?” The law that is being delayed would require nursing homes to spend at least 70 percent of their annual gross revenues on resident care, including at least 40 percent on staff. A report issued last week by the Center for Medicare Advocacy found that New York nursing homes already receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they could redirect to resident care. "Policymakers must require greater transparency and accountability in how facilities spend the money they receive for care before they consider increasing payments to facilities," the report concluded. Hochul’s office did not respond to a request seeking comment, but a spokesperson for the state Department of Health said that nursing homes were still encouraged to comply with the law but would not be penalized if they didn’t “in light of the current staffing crisis.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.