Did The Coronavirus Pandemic Result In Nursing Home Abuse?

Everyone knows that former New York Governor Cuomo squashed the realities of COVID in nursing homes early in the pandemic to prove he had a handle on the virus. Nursing home deaths were far greater than anyone knew at the time. Many friends and family members of nursing home residents were left wondering who was liable for keeping them there under false pretenses.

Shouldn’t the state be liable for not releasing information that could have resulted in family members removing their loved ones from such dangerous NYC facilities? Or are the nursing home caregivers partly to blame?

Ironically, it was Cuomo himself who signed a bill that would repeal a former law that protected these facilities from the type of litigation family members were not considering. Or maybe not so ironically — because by signing the bill, he diverted attention away from those who might contemplate suing the state instead. Can it be a coincidence that Cuomo’s administration was under federal investigation at the same time? Probably not.

Not everyone agreed with the repeal of the law. 

Executive Director Michael Balboni of the Greater New York Health Care Facilities Association told ABC News: “To do this now seems to be piling on an industry that has already had so much death and devastation. And I don’t really see how this is going to help anybody…This is an opportunity to rebuild better. And we’re not doing that, we’re still in the mode of casting blame.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Greater New York Hospital Association said, “We strongly oppose this repeal. In passing these fair and balanced liability protections last year, Albany recognized the incredible sacrifices that healthcare workers, hospitals, and other facilities made in caring for COVID-19 patients under extraordinarily challenging circumstances.”

The spokesperson added, “This pandemic is not over. We remain concerned about potential future surges as the coronavirus reinvents itself through variants and mutations, even as vaccinations increase.”

Since the crisis, New York’s nursing home standard operating procedures have tightened to protect residents further from the virus. And apparently due to this law’s repeal, there’s enough liability to go around. But it should be noted: even without the repeal, healthcare facilities still weren’t shielded from gross negligence, which is the focus point of most personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.

Did the Cuomo administration’s handling of the pandemic result in nursing home abuse? You be the judge. Ask a personal injury lawyer for legal advice if you believe your loved one was put in danger for no reason. You might also consult with a lawyer specializing in insurance if your premiums spiked as a result of the care your loved one received early in 2020.

The repeal of the law occurred at the same time that a new budget capped nursing home profits. The same budget laid out guidelines for how much long-term healthcare facilities can allocate toward staffing or overall care. The cap on profits is not 5%, while 70% of revenue must be spent on care.