A report released last year by New York Assemblyman Ron Kim examined the thousands of deaths from Covid-19 in the state’s nursing homes in an attempt to identify underlying problems that caused the raft of fatalities and what can be done to address those problems. The report, published by Kim’s office in July 2020, is available here.
This report is the final of three reports on nursing homes during the pandemic, as Kim’s office notes in its executive summary. The first “covered the correlations between early corporate immunity and nursing home fatalities across the country,” while the second argued that New York’s particular immunity law “was disguised as worker protection and a Good Samaritan law.” The third report examines the performance of for-profit nursing homes in New York and New Jersey, finding that “privatized care results in unnecessary and tragic deaths.”
Kim’s office argues that the nursing home industry’s profit motives—63% of facilities in New York are for-profit, according to the report—is directly tied to the industry-written legislation and lobbying for immunity, and that “it is no mere coincidence” former Governor Cuomo “received millions in contributions to his 2018 re-election campaign from entities like the Greater New York Hospital Association,” which drafted immunity legislation. While noting that publicly owned and operated nursing homes serve the public benefit rather than private profit, the report argues that “the public sphere of governance – the seemingly immutable and inherent nature of elderly health care as a public good – has been compromised, and that the interests of capital and shareholders have superseded those of the people of New York and New Jersey.”
The report ultimately concludes that for-profit nursing homes fail to invest their profits in patient care, instead spending them on “political favors” and “extra fees to their lawyers and lobbyists.” As such, Kim’s office proposes, lawmakers should “hold for-profit nursing homes accountable by repealing their immunity status.” It also proposes longer-term systemic reforms to better serve residents and patients, which will be discussed in future posts.
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.