New York can improve nursing homes

According to Families for Better Care’s Nursing Home Report Card, New York is one of 11 states receiving an F grade. Brian Lee, FBC’s director, said, “New York represents what’s terribly wrong with nursing home care and oversight in America.”

Long Term Care Community Coalition’s studies indicate widespread excessive and unnecessary psychiatric drugging of residents of New York’s nursing homes.

LTCCC reports our state’s failure to provide the New York State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program with the independence and support needed to protect vulnerable nursing home residents. While most states require at least minimum nursing home staffing standards, New York state has no such requirements. Consequently, New York state nursing homes are among the most understaffed in America, resulting in severe deficiency citations and deterioration of residents’ health.

This summer, New York state plans to require Medicaid recipients to enroll in private managed care plans as a prerequisite to receiving nursing home care. LTCCC is understandably concerned such plans will contract only with nursing homes that offer the most attractive pricing, regardless of how bad they are.

To learn more about these and other nursing home abuses in our state, visit LTCCC.org.

As attorney general, Andrew Cuomo declared, “My office is watching like a hawk when it comes to the treatment and care of New York’s most vulnerable patients and will not tolerate the kind of disturbing neglect and abuse we’ve witnessed.” As governor, however, Cuomo’s lack of leadership in nursing home reform hurts the 107,000 residents currently in nursing homes throughout New York state and the 40 percent of New Yorkers over age 65 who will need nursing home care at some point in their lives. And very few other state politicians are fighting vigorously for nursing home reform.

A more responsible commitment to the “powers that be” is needed.

JOEL FREEDMAN

LTCCC member

Canandaigua, Ontario County