February 9, 2021
In this Issue:
- Consumer Voice Statement on the New York Attorney General's Report on the Effect of COVID-19 on Nursing Homes
- Join the Twitter Storm Friday to Open Nursing Home Doors
- What to Do If You Are Denied A Compassionate Care Visit
Consumer Voice Statement on the New York Attorney General's Report on the Effect of COVID-19 on Nursing Homes
On January 28, 2021, the Attorney General of New York, Letitia James (AG), released a scathing preliminary report on the effect of COVID-19 on nursing homes in New York. The report found that pre-existing short-staffing issues were a defining factor in how a great number of nursing homes in New York fared during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The AG’s report found that inadequate staffing led to an increase in neglect and harm unrelated to COVID-19, as well.
Additional findings include:
- Despite long-standing and strict infection control requirements, inadequate training and staff investment resulted in these procedures not being followed which perpetuated the crisis in homes.
- For-profit facilities that diverted funds away from resident care and into profits performed poorly compared with homes that invested in care.
- A facility’s history prior to the pandemic of short-staffing was more predictive of outcomes than other factors, including geographic location.
- The granting of immunity from civil liability to nursing homes may have increased the devastation in nursing homes.
- Insufficient testing and training contributed to the crisis.
- The New York Department of Health may have undercounted deaths from COVID-19 by 50%.
The AG’s report demonstrates that much of the suffering in nursing homes could have been prevented. Fortunately, the roadmap laid out by the report and by the recommendations of nursing home resident advocates across the country, including the Consumer Voice, provide tangible steps that could immediately protect residents across the country and prevent further devastation in facilities.
Read Consumer Voice's full statement in response to the report.
Join the Twitter Storm Friday to Open Nursing Home Doors
It's been almost one year since nursing homes shut their doors on March 13, 2020. Join Consumer Voice in marking the one-year anniversary by participating in our advocacy campaign to open nursing home doors.
This Friday, February 12, 2021 take part in a Valentine's Twitter Storm urging CMS and members of Congress to #HaveaHeart and #OpenNursingHomeDoors.
How to Participate:
- Log onto Twitter on Friday, February 12th and tag CMS (@CMSgov and @CMSgovPress) and your federal legislators to ask them to #HaveAHeart and #OpenNursingHomeDoors
- Find out who your members of Congress are.
- Find your members' Twitter handles.
- If you have a friend or loved one who lives in a nursing home or are a nursing home resident: Personalize your tweet with your story (see examples) and include a photo of your friend/loved one or yourself
- If you don't have anyone in a nursing home, share your thoughts about what residents are experiencing (see examples). Attach our #OpenNursingHomeDoors graphic.
- Tag us @ConsumerVoices
By using a common hashtag and tagging CMS and your representatives, our voices will be amplified!
Don't have a Twitter account?
Share this message to your friends and family! Encourage them to join our Valentine's Day Twitter Storm!
- You can sign up - it's easy and free!
- On Facebook, tag us @theconsumervoice and use the same hashtags.
For more information about Friday's Twitter Storm, visit our website.
What to Do If You Are Denied a Compassionate Care Visit
Compassionate care visits are special visits in which a family member or other visitor provides comfort, support, and/or assistance to a resident whose well-being is suffering or at risk, or who is dying. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed guidance that provides some examples of situations when compassionate care visits should be permitted.
What can you do if the facility denies you compassionate care visits?
If the facility tells you that you cannot have compassionate care visits, there are a number of steps you can take.
- Ask for the reason. CMS guidance states that facilities may not restrict visitation without a reasonable clinical or safety cause. Check any visitation guidance/directives about compassionate care visits that your state has issued.
- Request a care planning meeting and emphasize your loved one’s need for these visits.
- Involve your long-term care ombudsman. The Ombudsman program advocates for residents and can help resolve concerns. Not only can your ombudsman help you and your loved one advocate for their rights, but they can help you work with your facility to identify the need for compassionate care.
- File a complaint with your state survey agency. This agency is responsible for regulating and overseeing nursing homes in your state. One of its duties is to investigate complaints.
You can find contact information for both the Ombudsman program and the State Survey Agency at https://theconsumervoice.org/get_help.
For more information about Making the Case for Compassionate Care Visits, see our fact sheet.