A New York state judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the staffing minimum requirements law for nursing homes, paving the way for its enforcement. Justice James Gilpatric rejected the legal challenge brought by LeadingAge, a nursing home trade group, against the 2021 law. This decision allows the state to impose fines of up to $2,000 per day on understaffed nursing homes.
The staffing law, which mandates minimum daily staffing hours and specific revenue allocations for direct resident care, was initially passed to address care quality issues exacerbated by the pandemic. However, its implementation has been delayed, leading to frustrations among families of nursing home residents. The recent ruling by Justice Gilpatric emphasized the state’s authority to enact laws for public health protection, including in nursing homes.
Despite the labor shortages impacting the industry, state Health Commissioner James McDonald has indicated that nursing homes could face fines if they fail to meet the staffing requirements. Facilities can challenge these fines by demonstrating efforts to increase staffing levels. The ruling and impending fines highlight ongoing efforts to improve care in nursing homes amidst challenging labor market conditions.
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