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What’s Slower…Rush Hour Traffic, or Carrying Out Existing Laws on Long-Term Care?

If you want to get a conversation started with a stranger here in New York City, just talk about the weather, the MTA, or the traffic. The traffic in some parts of this city can be absolutely atrocious, good gosh.

But at least it moves, most of the time. The same can’t be said for the enforcement of a number of good laws on long-term care in New York State.

The most current example is the start of the Reimagining Long-Term Care Task Force. It is a task force that, if it did the work it was supposed to do, could have a major impact on long-term care in New York State. Yet, it is stuck in neutral. This task force was signed into law by Governor Hochul in December 2021. An affiliate of Spectrum News in Upstate New York published a story on the task force not starting yet in December 2022 (1). It is now July 2023. The endless delays are unacceptable, plain and simple.

But there are other examples of existing laws in the world of long-term care not being carried out in New York State.

There is also a law saying that nursing homes are required to spend at least 70 percent of their operating revenue on direct resident care—a law that also passed in recent years. The carrying out of this law has been about as existent as the carrying out of the task force—none at all. And that’s even though a lack of care for residents played such a major role in so many people dying in long-term care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then there’s the minimum staffing requirement that also went into effect during the pandemic. That is yet another law that is not being carried out, and the law is not being enforced. Stakeholders are divided as to why that is the case (2), but the fact is that it is the case, which is bitterly disappointing given that the pandemic exposed staffing issues at long-term care facilities to begin with.

So, the ask of our leaders in Albany is simple: for a change, stop dragging your feet on carrying out the reforms the laws on the books call on you to do.


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