Assisted living facilities send letter to governor, health commissioner over staffing and PPE

Coronavirus

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — An organization that represents assisted living facilities is speaking out against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s comments on nursing homes.

The Empire State Association of Assisted Living has sent a letter to the Governor and Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to express their concerns. 

A portion of the letter reads in part:

“… Perhaps the first steps are to help put us in a position to succeed with supplies of PPE, funding to employ more staff, testing available to residents and staff to help contain the virus as best we can, and some temporary regulatory relief so that our staff can dedicate their time caring for residents rather than completing voluminous paperwork and other requirements.”

On Thursday, the Governor announced the state would be investigating nursing homes for COVID-19 violations. Nursing homes cannot turn away a patient with, but if they can’t provide adequate care, they’re supposed to transfer the patient to another facility or call the Department of Health. 

Cuomo has said the state has given thousands of personal protective equipment to nursing homes, but the Empire State Association of Assisted Living said their providers have not been a priority. 

The Governor said the state’s portal of healthcare volunteers is available to all nursing homes. He also said testing is being done in nursing homes. 

“We’re doing a lot of testing in nursing homes. We’re checking the temperature of every staff member that comes in. We’re not in a position to say ‘we can provide enough tests to do every staff member every day,'” he said.

The Governor was asked if it would be “helpful” to mandate nursing home staff and patients be tested. He said it would be, but they would need the “capacity” to do so. 

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