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AARP NY Backs Nursing Home Legislation & Package of Bills to Protect Older NYers in Pandemic

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ALBANY, N.Y. – With New York State lawmakers back in session this week, AARP New York today announced its support for a package of bills aimed at protecting older New Yorkers – the most susceptible population to COVID-19 – during the pandemic.

The legislation ranges from requiring nursing homes and long term care facilities to develop emergency pandemic plans to prohibiting utilities from shutting off power for non-payment to customers.

One bill would require a study of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on New Yorkers of color.

“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,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “It is a matter of life and death.”

On behalf of its 2.5 million members statewide, AARP is supporting bills to:

· Require residential health care facilities to prepare an annual pandemic emergency plan (S.8289-B-Salazar/A.10394-A-Lentol). This bill has now passed both houses of the State Legislature and will be sent to the Governor;

· Impose a moratorium on utilities terminating services during periods of pandemics and/or states of emergency (S.8113-A-Parker/A.10521-RULES–Mosley). The bill has now passed both houses;

· Toughen penalties for price gouging during a pandemic (S.8189-Hoylman/A.10270-Rozic). The bill has now passed both houses;

· Expand telehealth services to include reimbursements for audio-only or video-only visits (S.8416-Metzger/A.10404-A-L. Rosenthal). The bill has now passed both houses;

· Study the health impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color (S.8245-A-Parker/A.10517-RULES–Aubry). The bill has now passed both Houses;

· Ensure COVID-19 contact tracers are representative of the cultural and linguistic diversity of the communities they are tracking (S.8362-A-Serrano/A.10477-A-RULES-Joyner). The bill has passed both houses;

· Permit electronic applications for absentee ballots, removing a requirement for a signature (S.8130-D-Myrie/A.10516-A-RULES–Simotas). The bill has passed both houses;

· Allow New Yorkers to extend the life of their mortgage beyond their final mortgage payment date or spread payments out if they need to skip months because of economic hardship due to COVID-19 (S.8243-C-Kavanagh/A.10351-B-Rozic). The bill has now passed both houses;

· Authorize municipalities to declare moratoriums on foreclosures to allow homeowners to stay in their homes if they had trouble paying taxes during the crisis (S.8413-Benjamin/A.10518-RULES–Galef);

· Provide vouchers to landlords from federal CARES Act funding on behalf of renters who had trouble paying their rent due to lost income during COVID-19 (S.8419-Kavanagh/A.10522-RULES-Cymbrowitz). The bill has now passed both houses;

· Increase accountability and oversight for residential healthcare facilities during state disaster emergencies involving a disease outbreak (A.10350A-Kim)

· Repeal a recent law that shields nursing homes from certain lawsuits by residents or their families during a health emergency (A10427-Kim)

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

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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 www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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