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Nursing home operators file federal suit over state revenue requirements

Over 250 nursing homes filed a federal suit Wednesday aimed at overturning a new state law requiring them to spend at least 70 percent of revenue on patient care and 40 percent on staff who work with patients.

The Albany Times-Union reports the suit was filed in US District Court in Albany. The suit says the law violates the “takings” clause of the US constitution. The suit claims the law also violates the Supremacy clause, because it mandates how homes can spend federal funds through the Medicare program. State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett is listed as the defendant. The suit seeks a declaratory judgement blocking implementation of the law.

The law is part of agreement reached on the budget last year between legislative leaders and Governor Andrew Cuomo after concerns were raised about how nursing homes were spending their money. The agreement caps the amount of profits homes can make, and directs that any excess go into the state’s so-called quality pool, which is used to reward homes that provide top quality care.

The beginning of the end of the Cuomo administration involved nursing home care during the COVID-19 pandemic and allegations his administration underreported the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.

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There’s been no comment on the suit from the state Health Department.