Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in New York must create pandemic emergency plans within the next 90 days and update them annually under a bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law.

The legislation requires all residential health care facilities in the state to develop plans that address communication with family members as well as measures for protecting residents, staff and family from infection.

The bill seeks to apply lessons learned over the past few months as the COVID-19 pandemic spread statewide, including into nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The plans must be made available on the websites of the facilities and include:

  • Plans for communicating with family members and guardians on the status of infected residents at least once a day, and when a resident’s condition changes. Homes must also report to residents, families and guardians on the number of infections and deaths.
  • Methods for providing residents with access to video conferencing for communicating with family members and guardians.
  • Plans for maintaining a two-month supply of personal protective equipment.

The bill also addresses questions of readmissions. Facilities must develop a plan for preserving a resident’s place in the home and how they will go about handling the readmission.

Facilities that fail to comply could face penalties that could include fines. The plans will be reviewed and enforced by the Department of Health.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are under increased scrutiny in connection with the pandemic. Listen to this episode of the Harris Beach podcast to learn more.