Nursing homes in New York should be required to have an emergency plan for pandemics submitted on a yearly basis, Assemblyman Joe Lentol on Monday said.
Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat, has introduced a bill that would require the plans for nursing homes, which have been devastated by the pandemic.
More than 5,000 nursing home residents have died since March and in some areas of the state account for a majority or all of the deaths from the virus.
“The COVID19 pandemic unfolding in nursing homes across the country has sent chills into the heart and soul of every American," Lentol said. "The rapid spread of COVID19 in nursing homes exposed a fatal flaw in pandemic planning and while there is much to address now, nursing homes must have a pandemic plan in place in order to prevent tragedies like we have seen with COVID19. Society judges you on how you treat its most vulnerable members - and it is clear there is more work to be done."
Lentol's bill comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday adjusted the state's nursing home policy, barring COVID-positive patients from being discharged into hospitals. Nursing homes still take in COVID-positive residents, a policy that has come under scrutiny and crticism.
The measure would require plans that communicate the status of each nursing home resident to family members, include plans for protection of staff and residents and ensure residents in hospitals are cleared of infection prior to being readmitted to a nursing home.
Nursing homes must also have a minimum two month supply of personal protective equipment.