Published 5.4.21 9:28am
Perhaps the punishment for cruelty to the elderly in nursing care should be lying in the same nursing home bed forced to wallow in excrement and urine. Were we to be a legislators, this would be the top of our bucket list. Alas, should the punishment not fit the crime? And yet, those with the courage to speak out are inevitably doomed.
Most of New York’s nursing homes or those owned throughout the United States by New York nursing home conglomerates, are a special brand of hell to the elderly living in them; and their owners and managers deserve accountability. Many are understaffed or staffed by undertrained employees. In most care is substandard, if there is care at all. In many the food is unpalatable or barely edible, but it is inexpensive. In all but a select few, elderly patients can spend hours sitting in their own excrement, thirsty for a drink, exposed to Covid-19 and other pathogens. There is no accountability. Where laws exist there is no oversight. It is a vicious cycle.
In some, the owners use the open spaces for parties and celebrations – a show of wealth and so-called hospitality. After all, a nursing home is a hospitality business. Even during Covid-19, at the worst of the outbreaks, we received reports of massive gatherings in the halls of some of these homes, catered by top kosher caterers, but not open to the patients and their families.
In all but a select few, money flows like water; and the only beneficiaries are the owners and operators, their investors and the politicians who benefit from political contributions. Name the horror and you will likely find it in New York’s nursing homes. Sadly, so many of the nursing homes are owned by different combinations of the same uber-wealthy individuals who have already sold their souls for money. Their attorneys shut their eyes, look the other way. It is really not an attorney’s job to judge. And the billing is glorious to those attorneys for whom these are their top clients. If one is without a conscience, a sense of morality, and is already adept at skirting laws, falsifying records and documents, paying off or discrediting those who get in their way – will new laws do anything but pay lipservice?
Factor in the guardians, many of whom are complete savages, and we have a lethal mix. Many of the patients are sent to nursing home hell by self-serving guardians who likely get hefty kickbacks – a “quid pro quo” of sorts. Most of New York’s nursing homes are for profit. Their ownership structure can be a moving target, crafted to avoid accountability. Many are financed by hedge funds, hedge fund owners and investment managers; or are publicly traded in various portfolios in the stock exchanges of the United States, Israel, the Canadian Stock Exchange and so many others. It is business, after all. Are we talking about human life? Irrelevant really. We are talking about money.
Guardianship is an extraordinary racket, a well-oiled machine which includes (but is not limited to) social workers, judges, politicians, guardians, medical staff, nursing staff, attorneys, the judiciary and the list goes on and on and on. It is a vicious cycle with little hope of breaking. We have been told it is an “open secret” in government and those who attack the system inevitably doom themselves to a loss of livelihood, reputation, financial well-being and even family safety. The people involved in this racket are like a close-knit family “the Gansa Mishpucha” for whom money leads, whatever conscious there is or may have been was set aside long ago.
The multitude of people involved are not morally bankrupt, as that implies there was something there to bankrupt in the first instance. That is a stretch. The elderly in many of the nations nursing homes are nothing more than financially lucrative chattel; lives of meaningless vulnerable people whose daily existence generates cash. It is a godless business.
New York’s nursing homes and their owners are some of the worst. And then there’s the governor, Andrew Cuomo and his aides who were complicit in setting in motion further devastation as Covid-19 ravaged the elderly. So what did they do? They created immunity – and another loophole to escape accountability. We have coined that immunity the “Granny Killer Immunity Provisions”. Cuomo’s political existence has depended, in large part, upon a significant donor pool that exists within the nursing home industry. He is the quintessential beneficiary of political largesse.
Creating laws that would protect our morally challenged nursing home owners was all part of the movement of money. Until Covid-19 put the brakes on that, at least temporarily it just kept going. The Granny Killer Immunity Provisions immunized nursing home owners, operators and managers and hospitals. Those provisions have been overturned but their creation should be a warning to anyone in this fight. If the power of the nursing home industry can have sway over Governor Cuomo, it will happen again.
There is an effort (see below) to place restrictions on nursing homes. We again pose this: restrictions mean nothing if there is no one there to enforce. Our government is a part of the problem. Enforcement will not happen and the crimes against humanity – our elderly and most vulnerable – will continue. Do we not owe them more lest we all be savages?
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo was securing a reported $4 million deal to write a book on his pandemic “leadership,” he and his staff were busy suppressing the truth about New York’s nursing-home deaths in the wake of the March 25 order that forced homes to admit COVID-contagious patients. And it now turns out the coverup was even worse than we’d thought.
On top of blocking health officials from telling the truth, senior staffers also quashed a scientific paper that reported the true fatality total, The New York Times reported.
A June 18 e-mail from top aide Melissa DeRosa to health officials shows Team Cuomo was “anxious” about a pending Department of Health report on nursing-home coronavirus fatalities and out to downplay the idea that the March 25 mandate had proved deadly.
The Cuomoites were publicly citing a nursing-home death toll of about 6,000 by ignoring home residents who’d died while hospitalized. The draft report shared the full count of over 9,700, noting that the homes accounted for “approximately 35 percent” of all NY coronavirus deaths. But DeRosa — who at the same time was intimately involved in the gov’s book-deal negotiations — and other staff got all that edited out. The final report said the homes only yielded 21 percent of the state’s virus death total, making it seem below, rather than above, the US average.The New York Post continue reading here.
By Dean Moses
The feud between Ron Kim and Andrew Cuomo is not over yet.
Assemblyman Ron Kim and Governor Andrew Cuomo had a very raw, very public falling out this past February that essentially catapulted the nursing home scandal—in which Cuomo is accused of hiding the number of fatalities from COVID-19 within New York State nursing homes—into the media spotlight. Kim became a household name overnight after the local politician alleged Cuomo threatened to ruin his career. Now, Kim is calling upon the Attorney General to join the fight.
Kim gathered with Voices for Seniors members in Foley Square on Monday afternoon. In the shadow of the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, the assemblyman stood ahead of those who had lost elderly loved ones to the deadly virus calling out the Governor for what he says are “Some of the worst and deadly policies that this country has ever witnessed.”
“For ten months Andrew Cuomo only listened to the worst operators, the lobbyists, to put forward policies that were not only deadly but were irresponsible and criminal. So, we are here once again calling for full accountability for Andrew Cuomo’s unilateral decision-making around nursing homes, in particular, we are asking for the Attorney General and every other investigator who has now opened up investigations into Andrew Cuomo to look into him and his allies, and his administration committing fraud,” Kim said.
While Attorney General Letitia James is reportedly already conducting an investigation into the slew of sexual misconduct allegations levied at the head of state, this demand for action asks James to look into a cover-up of deaths within nursing homes. Kim also cited the importance of this proposed investigation to the families of the deceased who formed Voices for Seniors, a group that looks to improve the lives of the elderly through advocacy. Members of the organization clutched photographs of perished family members and signs dubbing the Governor a “super spreader,” blaming Cuomo for the deaths of their loved ones.amNY, to continue reading click here.
As part of its recent budget, New York State has enacted a new law that significantly impacts nursing home operators in New York. Effective January 1, 2022, the new Section 2828 of the Public Health Law requires, among other things, that:
Not less than 70% of nursing home revenues shall be spent on direct resident care costs;
40% of the nursing home revenues must be spent on staff who work directly with patients (so-called resident-facing staff, as that term is defined in Section 2828), which is included in amounts spent on direct resident care costs; and
Nursing home profits are limited to not more than 5%, and profits in excess of this threshold shall be turned over to the [sic]
Pursuant to the legislation, the Department of Health shall promulgate regulations in accordance with the new [sic]
Direct resident care is defined to include non-revenue support services (e.g., maintenance and patient food service), ancillary services (e.g., laboratory and pharmacy services), and program services directly serving patients.
Direct resident care is defined to include non-revenue support services (e.g., maintenance and patient food service), ancillary services (e.g., laboratory and pharmacy services), and program services directly serving patients. Expenses that are specifically excluded as not related to patient care include, without limitation, administrative costs (other than nurse administration), capital costs, debt service, taxes (other than sales taxes or payroll taxes), capital depreciation, rent and leases, and fiscal services. Specifically excepted from the new law are nursing homes that provide certain specialized services, including, for example, behavioral intervention and neurodegenerative services.JDSupra, continue reading, here.
Aides to the New York governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, repeatedly prevented state health officials from releasing the number of nursing home deaths in the pandemic.
The effort by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office to obscure the pandemic death toll in New York nursing homes was far greater than previously known, with aides repeatedly overruling state health officials over a span of at least five months, according to interviews and newly unearthed documents.
Mr. Cuomo’s most senior aides engaged in a sustained effort to prevent the state’s own health officials, including the commissioner, Howard Zucker, from releasing the true death toll to the public or sharing it with state lawmakers, these interviews and documents showed.
A scientific paper, which incorporated the data, was never published. An audit of the numbers by a top Cuomo aide was finished months before it became publicly known. Two letters, drafted by the Health Department and meant for state legislators, were never sent.
The actions coincided with the period in which Mr. Cuomo was pitching and then writing a book on the pandemic, with the assistance of his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, and others.
And they came as the governor’s approach to nursing homes was receiving intensifying scrutiny from critics and Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump, whose administration made a public show of requesting nursing home death data from four states with Democratic governors, including New York.
The number of nursing home residents who died in the pandemic has been a particularly sensitive question for the Cuomo administration.
The number of nursing home residents who died in the pandemic has been a particularly sensitive question for the Cuomo administration.The New York Times, continue reading here.
NEW YORK NOW – Nursing homes in New York would be required to have enough staff for each resident to receive at least three and a half hours of direct care each day under legislation expected to be approved by the state Legislature in the next few weeks.
he bill was approved Monday by the Senate Health Committee, and the same is expected Tuesday in the Assembly Health Committee. Final passage is scheduled for next week.
“We’re trying to make sure that folks, whether they’re in hospitals or nursing homes, that they’re taken care of, and that they’re appropriately staffed,” said Sen. Gustavo Rivera, D-Bronx, who sponsors the bill and chairs the Senate Health Committee.
The bill would require about two-thirds of the mandated 3.5 hours of care to be provided by a certified nurse aide, while about an hour would have to involve a licensed nurse. It would take effect next January to give those facilities time to adjust.
Nursing homes found to have violated the law would be hit with a civil penalty by the state Department of Health, according to the legislation.
It’s not a new idea. Some Democrats have been pushing for higher required staffing levels at nursing homes and hospitals for years. Assm. Aileen Gunther, a Democrat and a nurse who sponsors the legislation in the Assembly, is one of them.WSKG/NPR/PBS, continue reading here.
New York nursing homes will be required to put nearly three quarters of their money toward caring for residents, as a nursing home profit cap was included in the 2021 New York State budget.
The profit cap, also called a medical loss ratio, was tucked away in the Health and Mental Hygiene budget bill. The state Senate and Assembly passed the $212 billion budget Wednesday.
The cap will mandate nursing homes put at least 70% of their revenue toward direct care. Of that 70%, at least 40% will have to go toward paying nurses.
The push to curb nursing home profits came as a result of 15,000 New York nursing home residents dying of COVID-19 during the pandemic. Advocates and lawmakers say the deaths were a byproduct of longstanding issues in the long-term care industry, such as understaffing and owners valuing profits over care.
Meanwhile, a New York State Attorney General report found some for-profit nursing homes transferred money to related parties, such as they and their associates’ companies, instead of investing in staffing and personal protective equipment during the pandemic.WBFO/NPR continue reading here.