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AARP NY Urges Full & Retroactive Repeal of State Immunity for Nursing Homes

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Calls on State Lawmakers, Governor to Right Wrong Slipped into State Budget

ALBANY, N.Y.AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement today on the New York State Legislature’s potential repeal of legal immunity granted to nursing homes and long-term care facilities as part of the 2020-21 State Budget:

“AARP New York calls on the Governor and the leaders of the State Legislature to right the wrong they slipped into this year’s state budget at the behest of the nursing home industry. They should completely and retroactively repeal the legal immunity they granted nursing homes and other long-term care facilities during the pandemic.

“The right to seek legal redress through the courts is a fundamental American principle. It was stripped from nursing home residents and their families in New York, and it should be restored. Period.

“Over 6,000 New Yorkers have died in nursing homes during the pandemic so far, many of them alone. This must stop, and we must never let this kind of epic tragedy happen again.

“AARP New York is encouraged by State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s statement last night that his house is re-examining the immunity provisions, which as he noted some thought were too broad.

“Nothing short of a complete and retroactive appeal is acceptable. Not only would that restore the right of residents and their families to seek justice, but it would incentivize facilities to provide proper care going forward.

“Residents and their families should have the ability to hold facilities accountable for abuse, neglect and substandard care. This is especially true now, with most nursing home inspections suspended and in-person visits by family members and long-term care ombudsmen restricted due to the pandemic.

“AARP has been advocating for the rights of residents in nursing homes and other residential care facilities since our founding over 60 years ago – and we will continue.”

Note: Immunity was granted to nursing homes and other Article 28 health care facilities for the treatment of COVID-19 patients as part of the Article 30-D Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act enacted as part of the 2020-21 New York State budget in April.

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

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About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation'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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