NY Lawmakers Hoping to Create Nursing Home Compensation Fund

NEW YORK -
In this April 17, 2020, file photo, a patient is loaded into an ambulance by emergency medical workers outside Cobble Hill Health Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

State politicians have proposed legislation that would provide financial assistance to the families of those who died after contracting the coronavirus while in New York nursing homes, the Post reported.

Modeled after the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund, the aid would come to a total of $4 billion, with families eligible for a minimum payout of $250,000, and spouses and dependents of the deceased would each be eligible to $100,000.

It is not presently clear where the funds would come from.

Additionally, the legislation would extend the statute of limitations for civil claims related to injury or death of a nursing home resident that can be tied to the coronavirus.

The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Kim from Queens, who has been a consistent critic of the previous administration’s nursing home policies since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The Justice for Nursing Home Victims Act will make it very expensive for our state and the nursing home industry to commit eldercide. At the peak of the pandemic, it is abundantly clear that our state government’s only motivating factor was protecting industry profits over people’s lives,” said Kim, whose uncle, an elderly veteran, died in the nursing home he lived in after contracting the virus.

“We must make it prohibitively costly for others to harm older adults. To do otherwise would be to… enable the complete abandonment and neglect of older adults for ‘productive members’ of society.”

More than 15,000 people who lived in nursing and residential home died of the coronavirus since March 2020, when former governor Andrew Cuomo ordered nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients from hospitals.  Independent investigations have said this policy caused hundreds, possibly thousands, of extra deaths than the numbers being released by the state’s Department of Health.

As of now, there is no state Senate sponsor for the legislation.

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smarcus@hamodia.com