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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

Nursing Home Abuse and Understaffing: NY Nursing Homes File Lawsuit to Block Staffing Requirements

Understaffing at nursing homes is a long-running problem that has resulted in residents at New York facilities and at nursing homes across the country sustaining serious and fatal injuries due to passive neglect. When nursing homes do not have adequate staff members, there are not enough people working at the facility to properly care for ailing residents, including those who require assistance with activities of daily living or help getting from one location to another even if they still retain some mobility.

A New York state law went into effect January 1, 2022, that required facilities to spent 70% or more of their revenue on “direct resident care,” and 40% or more on “staff who care for residents,” according to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review, yet more than 250 facilities across the state have filed a lawsuit to block the new law. Our New York nursing home negligence attorneys want to discuss the lawsuit and its implications for nursing home abuse and neglect injuries.

Nursing Homes Sue to Block Staffing Law

Although the new law concerning requirements for nursing home spending on staffing and care has since taken effect, the federal lawsuit filed by hundreds of nursing homes is seeking to overturn the law. In addition to the staffing requirements cited above, the budget deal that resulted in the new law would cap the profits that a nursing home can make at just 5%, and requires that every nursing home in the state provide an average of three and a half hours of care for each resident from a nurse or a nursing assistant. At least one of those care hours, on average, must be provided by a licensed nurse. What is the legal basis of the lawsuit?

According to an article in the Times Union, the lawsuit “claims the new requirements violate the U.S. Constitution as an improper ‘taking’ of private property for a public purpose, and run counter to the Supremacy Clause by confiscating federal dollars flowing to nursing homes through Medicare.” In addition, the lawsuit claims that there have been “numerous procedural missteps with the state’s implementation of the changes,” and it underscores that the state never received federal approval to put the requirement into effect. The article emphasizes that the lawsuit focuses on the additional amounts of money that nursing homes would have to pay, and the amounts, ultimately, that they will lose in profits. It reports that, in estimation, “the changes would lead to an extra $500 million being spent on resident care.”

Understaffing and Nursing Home Neglect

Understaffing is a commonly cited reason for passive neglect and resulting injuries at nursing homes. According to a PBS News report, nursing homes across the country routinely under-report the number of nurses and nursing assistants they have providing care to residents, and a majority of nursing homes in the country are understaffed, especially on weekends.

According to David Stevenson, a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University, there are “gaps in care.” Considering the ways in which nursing homes are especially understaffed on weekends, Stevenson explained, “it’s not like the day-to-day life of nursing home residents and their needs vary substantially on a weekend and a weekday.” When facilities do not have adequate staff, residents may suffer from infections that go unidentified and worsen, residents may not receive the medications and food they need, and they can sustain serious injuries in falls because a nurse or nursing assistant is not present to help.

Contact a New York Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer

If you have questions about filing a nursing home negligence claim due to inadequate staffing, one of our New York nursing home neglect lawyers can assist you. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC today.


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