Advocates are calling on New York state lawmakers to put policies in place to protect nursing home residents.
This comes in the wake of a report by the state attorney general that there was an undercount of COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities.
“It’s not just because they live in close quarters and staff have to provide intimate care," said Marydel Wypych with the Metro Justice Elder Justice Committee. "It’s because of the staffing levels and the infection control problems and the profit above care. Those are the root causes of all those deaths, not just COVID.”
On Friday, the state's health commissioner, Dr Howard Zucker, said there is no undercount and that the attorney general’s report is “factually inaccurate.”
Wypych said she and her colleagues want to see legislators increase inspections, enforce staffing regulations, and fine facilities that are not in compliance.
She said increased oversight over who buys and owns nursing homes is needed to ensure that the quality of care is not affected by a desire for profitability.
“We want the governor and the legislature to act to remedy these problems and not just for a COVID disaster, but for the long run,” Wypych said.