The New York State Legislature has passed a bill mandating that nursing homes meet clinical staffing levels in their facilities. It has not yet been signed into law by Governor Cuomo.

The bill, A7119, specifically requires that the State Health Department establish regulations regarding nursing home staffing levels. Compliance would be determined by the Department on a quarterly basis using the staffing documents that the federal government requires nursing homes to submit.  The State Health Department will have the power to assess civil penalties for non-compliance after April 1, 2022.  There is a safety valve provision requiring the Department to take into account unforeseeable emergency circumstances.

Additionally, the bill sets a statewide minimum staffing standard. Starting January 1, 2022, nursing homes must provide at least 3.5 hours of care each day by a certified nurse aide, a licensed nurse, or a nurse aide. At least 2.2 of these hours must be provided by a certified nurse aide or nurse aide, with at least 1.1 of the total 3.5 hours provided by a licensed nurse. Starting January 1, 2023, 2.2 of the total 3.5 hours must be provided by a certified nurse aide, with at least 1.1 of the total 3.5 hours provided by a licensed nurse.

We are closely monitoring developments regarding if and when the Governor signs this bill into law. Because the Governor’s signature is likely given the present political climate, hospitals should begin making plans to comply with its requirements. We will also be preparing in-service administration and staff training programs to support your organization with understanding and meeting the specifics or the new compliance requirements, once they are signed into law. Subscribe to our New York Health Care blog for updates.

This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.