• Leitner Varughese

Nursing Home Staffing Minimums and Enforcement in New York


Nursing home care can be essential for older adults who require assistance with activities of daily living, as well as help taking medications and receiving other treatments. However, seniors suffer serious injuries much too often as a result of nursing home negligence in New York. Even if employees at a facility do not mean to cause harm, problems with understaffing and high turnover rates can reduce the quality of care at a facility, and seniors can suffer injuries. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), falls are among the most common causes of nursing home neglect injuries in addition to bed sores, untreated infections, and malnutrition.


In 2021, a new law in New York began requiring nursing homes in New York to establish minimum staffing levels in order to prevent patient injuries resulting from nursing home negligence. Will that law reduce the rate of injuries in New York nursing homes? Does the law change the way in which patients or their families should file nursing home negligence claims? Our New York nursing home negligence lawyers can say more.


New York Nursing Home Staffing Law Will be Enforced


The recently enacted law in New York requires nursing homes across the state to “maintain daily staffing hours equal to 3.5 hours of care per resident per day by a certified nurse aide, licensed practical nurse, or registered nurse,” according to an article in The Journal News. Yet many nursing homes have been pushing for the state to delay in any enforcement related to the law as a result of severe staffing shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 1, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul indicated that the state would start enforcing the law, which was initially passed while Cuomo was in office after data showed that New York has the fifth-worst nursing homes in the country, according to an NPR report.


The law was initially supposed to be enforced starting on January 1, 2022, but enforcement was delayed. Even with its requirement of 3.5 hours of care per day, many New York nursing homes would be below the recommended average of 4.1 hours of care per patient per day. Without enforcing the law, recent data has shown that 63% of New York nursing facilities would not meet the 3.5-hour requirement.


What the Staffing Minimums Mean for Nursing Home Negligence Claims


Regardless of whether the staffing minimums are enforced immediately, seniors who are harmed as a result of nursing home negligence can file a claim against the facility. If a resident’s care needs are not met by the facility based on an individual resident’s needs, the nursing facility could be responsible for negligence.


Accordingly, even if a facility does meet the minimum staffing requirements, that fact alone does not mean that nursing home negligence injuries cannot occur at a facility or that a facility will not be liable for harm. Patients must be considered individually, and if nursing home neglect or negligence results in a resident’s injuries, the facility may be held accountable through a nursing home negligence lawsuit.


Contact a New York Nursing Home Negligence Attorney


Do you need assistance filing a nursing home neglect claim? An experienced New York nursing home negligence lawyer can speak with you today. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC for more information.

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