Rochester attorney Robert Friedman discusses the formation of a task force to investigate why so many NY residents passed away from COVID-19 in nursing homes and long term-care facilities.
Good Morning. I am Bob Friedman, Attorney with Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC.
Welcome to the Thursday, August 27th, 2020 edition of the Legal Survival Channel: Today’s Legal News You Can Use.
The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) is launching a task force to investigate why a disproportionate number of residents died from COVID-19 in nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state. As has been widely reported, some of the earliest and deadliest outbreaks of the virus occurred among the vulnerable – and largely elderly – individuals housed in these facilities. NYSBA’s task force will review current laws and regulations and determine whether changes are necessary to make sure that this tragic situation does not reoccur.
“Nursing homes and long-term care facilities were Ground Zero for COVID-19 in New York and many other states,” said NYSBA President Scott M. Karson. “We entrust these facilities to care for our loved ones and as lawyers, we must do our part to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
The creation of this task force comes amid reports that the U.S. Justice Department is seeking data about “orders which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents” in several states – including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan – which could be the precursor to a federal investigation.
The task force will be co-chaired by Hermes Fernandez and Sandra D. Rivera who invite providers, advocacy groups and other interested parties to meet with the panel as it prepares recommendations for the April 2021 meeting of the NYSBA’s governing body, the House of Delegates.
“This task force will give our state an opportunity to examine what happened to individuals receiving care in nursing homes and from other long-term care providers,” Fernandez said. “We need to know what lessons can be learned and whether laws can be changed or need to be changed to achieve a better outcome.”
According to the New York Times, 41% of all coronavirus deaths in the United States are linked to nursing homes and they account for 8% of all the cases in the country. More than 6,600 coronavirus deaths occurred in nursing homes in New York State, the most of any state.
“We’re going to look at the challenges that confronted providers of services,” Rivera said. “The members of this task force will bring a variety of perspectives to the work, which will be helpful as we develop recommendations. ”