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Senate GOP pushes back on Cuomo’s nursing home policy

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James Seward and other NYS Senate Republicans yesterday pushed back on Governor Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes and adult care centers.

Their outcry follows announcement by Governor Cuomo on Tuesday that all residents and staff at these facilities must be tested for COVID-19 at least twice a week.

Republicans say little funding or resources have been allotted to help do so.

According to their argument, the 320k testing kits Cuomo provided this week doesn’t cover the costs of implementing his mandate for the entire state’s nursing homes.

With no further plan in place, skeptics say it’s unclear if another distribution at this scale will take place.

“Nursing homes are facing constant challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state must provide support not added stress for administrators, staff, and residents,” said Senator James L. Seward. “Testing is vital however; it cannot be done without input from those on the frontlines and significant backing from the state. Nursing home staffers are among the most caring and dedicated individuals you will ever meet, let’s work with them to care for our most vulnerable.”

The Senate Republican Conference called on the state to immediately:

  • Provide all necessary test kits directly to the facilities who have been scrambling to access them;
  • Utilize the National Guard to assist in administering tests and cleansing facilities to provide critical relief;
  • Use short swab or saliva tests;
  • Provide PPE to nursing homes, long term care and adult day care facilities;
  • Create a long-term care specific staffing pool; and
  • Enact State Senate Aging Committee Ranking Member Sue Serino’s plan to create regional facilities for COVID positive nursing home patients.

A new report from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living concluded that “Regular testing of nursing home residents and staff is unsustainable without federal/state funding.”

The same report found New York State would pay the highest amount in the U.S. if that measure was implemented nationwide, coming in at just under $34M based on 619 facilities containing over 226k residents and staff.

That study did not include the cost of testing for assisted living or other long-term care facilities.

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