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AARP NY Applauds Passage of One of First & Most Comprehensive Pandemic State Nursing Home Bills in U.S.


ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP New York today applauded New York State lawmakers for passing one of the first and most comprehensive pandemic-related state nursing home legislation in the nation to date.

The bill sponsored by Senator Julia Salazar (S8289-B) and Assembly Member Joseph Lentol (A10394-A) requires nursing homes and other long-term residential health care facilities to:

· Prepare annual pandemic emergency plans;

· Update families of residents’ conditions daily;

· Facilitate virtual visits between residents and their families once a day;

· Keep at least a two-month supply of personal protective equipment on hand, and;

· Develop a plan to keep a resident’s place in the facility if the resident is hospitalized.

“The number of deaths from COVID-19 at nursing homes and long-term care facilities is staggering, and the conditions under which our loved ones are dying there is tragic,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “AARP New York applauds the State Legislature for passing this important bill by Senator Salazar and Assemblyman Lentol to ensure the long term care system is prepared for a second wave of the coronavirus, or any future pandemic or health emergency, with sufficient personal protective equipment, daily communication with families about residents’ conditions, and guaranteed virtual visitation. This can never be allowed to happen again.”

“It’s vitally important that New York State’s families feel confident that their loved ones are safe and well cared for in residential senior care facilities,” said State Senator Julia Salazar. “This pandemic caught many institutions unprepared and the lack of clear procedures and protocols led to unnecessary deaths. We need to make sure that going forward, every nursing home and residential care facility has a concrete, written plan for future pandemic preparedness submitted to the Department of Health to ensure our seniors’ safety.”

“The nature of COVID-19 exposed a tragic vulnerability among one of our most high-risk populations: our senior citizens,” said Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol. “The rapid spread of the virus in nursing homes exposed a fatal flaw in pandemic planning and it is clear that more has to be done to protect nursing home residents and their healthcare workers. We need to ensure nursing home facilities are properly equipped with both a plan and protective equipment to stem future pandemics. I thank Senator Julia Salazar for partnering with me on this in the Senate. This bill will go a long way to address the flaw we have seen with COVID-19 in nursing home pandemic planning and protect one of our most vulnerable populations.”

AARP noted the bill should help mitigate disparities impacting older New Yorkers of color, who have been hardest-hit by the pandemic – particularly in nursing homes.

Last month, AARP and healthcare workers union 1199SEIU, the Asian American Federation, Hispanic Federation, NAACP of New York and New York Urban League sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging creation of a Long-Term Care COVID-19 Task Force to address many of the issues the Salazar/Lentol bill addresses.

“Now is the time to work collectively across all levels of government, with the non-profit and private sectors, to address structural inequities that adversely affect our older population and communities of color – and that have been highlighted and exacerbated by the pandemic,” Finkel added. “It is a matter of life and death.

“AARP urges Governor Cuomo to sign this bill into law.”

Contact: Erik Kriss,

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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.


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