Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, along with Assemblymember Michael Reilly, joined members from both sides of the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation that will require every residential healthcare facility to develop a pandemic emergency plan and make it available to the public.
“Throughout the pandemic, we heard from many concerned family members who could not find out the status of their loved ones and staff members who did not have the proper PPE to do their job safely,” said Malliotakis. “Having clear protocols for communication, transparency and personal protection of both staff and residents in place prior to a pandemic will improve conditions and provide a sense of security to all. This is an important step toward ensuring the tragedies that unfolded in some of these facilities will not be repeated during a second outbreak of COVID-19.”
The bill would address communications between a facility and the family/guardian of the patient, and communications between the patient and their family. This includes updating family members about infected residents once a day and families of all residents weekly and developing a method to allow all families to have free video conferencing with a resident daily.
The bill would also have an outline of a protection plan against infection for staff, residents and family, such as plans to safely readmit residents after they have been successfully treated and to ensure each facility has at least two months’ supply of Personal Protective Equipment.
It also includes a plan for reserving a resident’s place at the facility if the resident becomes hospitalized.
“Ensuring our nursing home facilities have comprehensive emergency plans is a positive step toward improving a response to future emergency incidents,” said Reilly. “I further renew our call for the state Senate and Assembly to hold hearings and appoint an independent investigator to thoroughly analyze the state’s response protocols as they relate to nursing homes. An independent investigator will provide transparency and accountability.”