On June 18, Governor Cuomo signed a bill passed by the Legislature in May mandating that nursing homes meet minimum clinical staffing levels in their facilities.
The new law specifically requires that the State Health Department establish regulations regarding nursing home staffing levels. Compliance will be determined by the Department on a quarterly basis using the staffing documents that the federal government requires nursing homes to submit. The State Health Department will have the power to assess civil penalties for non-compliance after April 1, 2022. There is a safety valve provision requiring the Department to take into account unforeseeable emergency circumstances.
Additionally, the law sets a statewide minimum staffing standard. Starting January 1, 2022, nursing homes must provide at least 3.5 hours of care each day by a certified nurse aide, a licensed nurse, or a nurse aide. At least 2.2 of these hours must be provided by a certified nurse aide or nurse aide, with at least 1.1 of the total 3.5 hours provided by a licensed nurse. Starting January 1, 2023, 2.2 of the total 3.5 hours must be provided by a certified nurse aide, with at least 1.1 of the total 3.5 hours provided by a licensed nurse.
The provisions of this new law are far-reaching. Accordingly, nursing facilities should begin making plans to comply with its requirements.