Two state legislators from New York City have announced a bill that would repeal the controversial law that shields nursing homes and hospitals from liability during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the New York Post.
On April 3, Governor Cuomo signed the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act, granting healthcare facilities and their employees “immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, for any harm or damages” allegedly inflicted while caring for coronavirus victims.
But New York State data shows that confirmed and presumed deaths from the virus among nursing home residents across the state have reached nearly 6,200.
“It’s abundantly clear from the very beginning that our vulnerable population included our nursing homes,” said State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-The Bronx) who is co-sponsoring the bill with Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens). “And from the very beginning, our nursing homes did not receive the full support that they needed – from the state and from others.”
In addition to providing immunity for care, the state law also specifies that staffing shortages cannot be used to allege wrongdoing at these facilities.
John Dalli, a partner in the nursing home abuse law firm Dalli & Marino LLP, says nursing homes were already understaffed prior to COVID-19, putting residents in jeopardy for injuries caused by neglect and abuse such as bedsores, falls and medication errors.
“Not holding nursing homes accountable for staffing shortages puts these already vulnerable residents at even more risk now,” Dalli said. “This immunity also removes transparency in the overall care process, making it very difficult for families to determine what really happened to a loved one if they died in a facility during the pandemic.”
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Photo: State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (Credit: AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
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