New York’s Public Health and Health Planning Council met today to vote on regulations that would guide the implementation of two laws that were passed in 2021:
· Requires an average of 3.5 hours of care a day for each nursing home resident—a giant leap, as prior to the law’s passage there were no minimum staffing requirements in New York. In order to meet these standards, most nursing home owners will have to hire more caregivers.
· Requires nursing home owners to spend 70% of their revenue on quality resident care—and 40% of that must be for staffing.
The regulations were passed unanimously; industry representatives testified in opposition and stated their need for more funding in order to follow the law.
Annesa Brown, a C.N.A. at Yorktown Nursing Home and 1199SEIU member said, “There MUST BE laws because we have already seen that too many nursing home owners will not do what is necessary on their own. Even when they make a lot of money, they always say they don’t have enough money for staff – they can’t afford it. So, now the law will require what should have been done a long time ago. Short-staffing has been going on for a long time, but it only became known to the public during the COVID pandemic. One wonders if we had not been through that tragedy, if the staffing issue would even be addressed now,” she said.
“It is impossible for any C.N.A. to do the job of giving compassionate care when she has 13-20 residents to care for at once. When this happens to me, I feel terrible that I have not been able to give my residents what they deserve. Caregivers like me wanted a job that helps people, wanted to be caregivers. We don’t WANT to leave the industry. But if we can’t afford to take care of our own families, how can we take care of others? Nursing home owners must invest in staff. Then they will see that it is not all that difficult to recruit dedicated workers.”
Brown wrapped up and said, “What if you had someone you loved in care? Or it was you. These concerns look different when it is hitting you personally.”
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 450,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all. 1199seiu.org