Assemblymember Wallace: New Laws Increase Transparency for Nursing Home Residents

New law requires nursing homes to provide residents, families with document detailing how to access information on infractions involving the facility

Today, Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that a law (A5848) she sponsored to improve transparency in residential care facilities recently took effect. The legislation requires long-term care facilities to provide residents and their families with a document outlining how they can find information on complaints, citations, inspections, enforcement actions, and penalties taken against the facility.

Meanwhile, last week, Governor Hochul signed into law legislation (A2037), which Assemblymember Wallace co-sponsored, requiring nursing homes to display their most recent rating from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on the homepage of their website.

“In order to make an informed decision when placing a loved one in a residential healthcare facility, families deserve to know that facility’s track record in following laws and regulations meant to protect its residents,” said Assemblymember Wallace. “These laws will ensure families have access to critical information when deciding which facility can best care for their loved one.”

Public hearings held by the Legislature on the impact of COVID-19 in nursing homes revealed that many families did not know how to access information maintained by the Department of Health on residential healthcare facilities and their compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a number of serious, underlying issues in our long-term care system,” said Assemblymember Wallace. “That’s why we’re taking action to address the root causes of the problems in our nursing homes to ensure residents receive adequate care, families are informed and empowered, and facilities are better prepared for the next public health crisis.”

“Putting a loved one in a long-term care facility is one of the hardest decisions families have to make, and something we counsel people on every day,” said Karen L. Nicolson, Esq., CEO of the Center for Elder Law & Justice. “In recent years, federal protections for nursing home residents have been continuously rolled back, putting residents at risk and causing heartbreak for their families. We need this type of strong legislation in New York State, as well as enforcement, in order to protect our most vulnerable residents.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Assemblymember Wallace has championed numerous bills to improve care and safety in residential care facilities. She sponsored and helped pass legislation (A108) to establish safe staffing levels in nursing homes and hospitals, and helped pass legislation (A5684A) to require long-term care facilities to notify residents and the public when they submit an application for a change of ownership or operations. Additionally, she has co-sponsored legislation (A1999A) to establish a process for the state Department of Health to review long-term care facilities’ compliance with infection control standards and co-sponsored legislation (A3131) to create requirements for greater accountability and oversight of these facilities during a state disaster emergency involving an infectious disease.