Lentol, Salazar Pass Legislation Requiring Nursing Home Pandemic Planning

Assembly Member Joe Lentol (D-Greenpoint, Williamsburg) announced last night that his and State Sen. Julia Salazar’s (D-Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Greenpoint, Williamsburgh, parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York) legislation requiring nursing homes to submit an annual pandemic plan has passed the Assembly and Senate (LentolA10394/Salazar-S08289).

The measure comes after KCP broke the story citywide concerning fatal problems at nursing homes during the pandemic and have written 11 follow up stories on the issue.

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol
Assemblymember Joseph Lentol
Julia Salazar
State Sen. Julia Salazar

“The nature of COVID19 exposed a tragic vulnerability among one of our most high-risk populations: our elderly. The rapid spread of the virus in nursing homes exposed a fatal flaw in pandemic planning and it is clear that more has to be done to protect nursing home residents and its healthcare workers. We need to ensure that nursing home facilities are properly equipped with both a plan and protective equipment to stem future pandemics,” said Lentol

This legislation will require residential health care facilities to prepare a pandemic emergency plan (PEP) within 90 days and annually thereafter, or more frequently as determined by the Commissioner of Health. The pandemic emergency plan requires:

  • PEP must be made available to the public on the facility’s website or upon request

  • PEP must include a communication plan for regular updates on the status of patients that are infected and updates on infections and deaths that have occurred at the facility

  • PEP must include protection plans against infection for staff, residents, and families of residents, which includes a readmission plan to the facility after treatment

  • PEP must include provisions for preserving a resident’s place in the facility if the resident is hospitalized

  • PEP must include provisions for providing residents with daily access, without charge, to videoconferencing technology to allow for communication

  • PEP must include provisions requiring residential health care facilities to have a two-month supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), or have a contract to provide such two-month supply of PPE

“Protecting our most vulnerable must be of high importance during pandemics. This legislation will go a long way to address the flaws we have seen with COVID19 in nursing homes. A pandemic plan will help to protect residents living in nursing homes, the essential employees providing much-needed health care services, and our community at large. I thank Senator Julia Salazar for partnering with me on this measure in the Senate,” said Lentol.

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