Nursing home operators have filed a federal lawsuit attempting to block a New York law mandating certain staffing requirements. The law, passed last year and set to go into effect this year, would require nursing homes in the state to “to spend at least 70% of their revenue on direct resident care, and at least 40% on staff who deal with residents,” according to a report by the Times Union.
The lawsuit was filed last week in a US District Court in Albany, New York, alleges that the law is unconstitutional. A civil rights complaint, it alleges that the law violates the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause “by confiscating federal dollars flowing to nursing homes through Medicare, the federal health care program for the elderly.” According to the Times Union, “more than 250 nursing homes as well as trade groups are named laws plaintiffs,” while Health Commissioner Mary Bassett is named as defendant.
The law would result in approximately $500 million more in spending on resident care, according to a nursing home workers’ union. It would also set a ceiling for potential operator profit at 5%, mandating that operators “redirect any excess funds into the state’s nursing home ‘quality pool.'” The quality pool is a fund designed to “reward nursing homes” that meet various standards for high quality care.
The CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association said in a statement to WROC that the law would place unfair burdens on nursing homes facing dire financial difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “It ignores those issues, it ignores the unique nature of every nursing home in the state of New York, and just seeks to take money,” he told WROC. According to both the Times Union and WROC, the plaintiffs also argue that state officials have failed to release any guidance specifying how the law would be enforce.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC work diligently to protect the rights of nursing home residents. Please contact us to discuss in the event you have a potential case involving neglect or abuse.