Cuomo Threatens to Yank Nursing Home Operators’ Licenses for Non-Compliance

We are part of The Trust Project

Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned operators of the state’s nursing homes that they will have their licenses to operate revoked if they fail to follow enhanced guidelines to better protect residents from the coronavirus.

Cuomo issued the stern statement during his Sunday briefing as the number of deaths in the state’s nursing homes continues to mount. About 12 percent of New York’s more than 21,000 COVID-19-related deaths have been nursing home residents.

“The virus likes nursing homes,” Cuomo said. “They are ground zero. They are the vulnerable population in the vulnerable location.”

The additional steps prohibit a nursing home from taking a patient discharged from a hospital who hasn’t tested negative for the virus. If a home is unable to provide an appropriately quarantined space for receiving a person referred from another source who is positive or is unequipped to care for them, they must transfer the patient to another facility or contact the state Department of Health, which will help arrange to place the person in one of the state’s COVID-only or makeshift facilities, the governor said.

In addition, all nursing home staff must receive a diagnostic test for the virus twice a week, Cuomo said.

The new steps announced Sunday are in addition to guidelines set by the state last month that are still in effect. On Apr. 23, it was determined that residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 must be quarantined and there must be separate staff for COVID-19 residents. If a facility is unable to care for the residents properly, then the person must be transferred.

Furthermore, a home must contact the family of a resident who has tested positive for the virus or who has died from a COVID-19-related illness within 24 hours.

Nursing home staff members must also be provided with personal protective equipment and have their temperatures taken daily.

Cuomo bluntly threatened nursing home operators who fail to comply.

“If a nursing home operator does not follow these procedures, they will lose their license,” he said. “Well, that’s harsh. No, harsh is having a nursing home resident who doesn’t get the appropriate care. That’s what’s harsh, having someone’s parent, mother or brother in a situation where they’re in a facility where they can’t even get a visitor, they’re isolated, they feel alone and they’re not getting the appropriate care.”

New York State has more than 101,000 nursing home residents, among the highest in the United States. However, the 12 percent of the state’s COVID-19-related deaths ranks 34th in the nation in percentage compared to other states, Cuomo said.

Earlier in the crisis, Cuomo had also issued an executive order that closed off all nursing homes to visitors. That restriction remains in effect.

During his daily briefing, he said were another 207 deaths statewide on Saturday, including 43 at nursing homes. The state’s overall death toll has now climbed to 21,478.

However, total hospitalizations have fallen to a little more than 7,000 and new COVID-19-related hospitalizations for Saturday were 521, the lowest since Mar. 20.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.