Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed off on a bill on Tuesday, April 7, 2021, that fully repeals broad liability protections given to nursing homes and hospitals in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation is effective immediately and is not retroactive.
The Treatment Protection Act repeals the extra protections against liability that were granted to nursing homes, hospitals, and other health care facilities for treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also mandates a prominent display in nursing homes to inform residents of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and requires the Department of Health to publish the patient bill of rights for the nursing home in the six most common non-English languages spoken in New York. It also reforms the review process for change of ownership or operations proposals filed with the Public Health and Health Planning Council, which is intended to add transparency regarding the ownership and operation of nursing homes.
This legislation goes into effect a full year after the enactment of the Emergency Disaster Treatment Protection act, as Gov. Cuomo continues to face calls for his resignation over claims of sexual harassment allegations and a pending federal investigation into his handling of nursing home COVID-19 deaths throughout New York.
Critics of Gov. Cuomo have slammed the administration for allegedly intentionally obscuring the true number of nursing home deaths due to COVID-19. Advocates of the newly enacted law believe it will bolster accountability and oversight of nursing homes and hospitals. However, nursing homes, hospitals, and their owners and operators, who already face significant financial hardships due to the pandemic, fear increased litigation since COVID-19-related claims against health care providers can now be litigated.
We will continue to report on this issue as further developments may lead to increased litigation against nursing homes and health care facilities related to the care and treatment of patients during the pandemic.
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