NY’s Nursing Homes – ‘Immediate Action Needed’: AARP NY Statement on Attorney General’s Report

By AARP NY | January 28, 2021

NY’s Nursing Homes – ‘Immediate Action Needed’: AARP NY Statement on Attorney General’s Report

NYS Undercounting Nursing Home Deaths, Failing to Ensure Safety of Residents and Staff ‘Appalling’

ALBANY, N.Y.— AARP New York today called on the State to take immediate action to address serious issues in nursing homes cited by New York State Attorney General Letitia James in her report  Nursing Home Response to COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Attorney General James’ report raises serious life and death issues that cannot and should not be ignored,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “Immediate action is needed. AARP has been fighting for months for New Yorkers to receive the full picture of pandemic-related nursing home deaths, and to ensure nursing home residents and staff are protected to the fullest extent possible.

“But the bottom line is many more nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than State Department of Health data indicate, and too many residents were put at increased risk of harm – and death – because of a lack of compliance with infection control protocols, including insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).”

AARP data show that while less than 1% of Americans are in nursing homes nationally, 40% of COVID deaths occurred among residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

As the Attorney General’s report shows, the State has undercounted New York nursing home deaths significantly, in large part by failing to disclose how many nursing home residents died after being transferred to hospitals — despite repeated requests for that information by AARP New York and other groups.

The report also found that:

  • The State has failed to ensure adequate safety precautions have been taken by nursing homes.
  • The current State reimbursement model for nursing homes incentivizes for-profit nursing home owners to increase their own profit rather than investing in higher levels of staffing and PPE.
  • Avoidable pain and distress resulted from a lack of nursing home compliance with the Governor’s sensible executive order requiring communication with family members.


“All of this is appalling,” said Finkel. “We need more transparency in both the counting of COVID-related nursing home resident deaths, no matter where they occurred, and more accountability by nursing homes to ensure they are following the rules.


“We also need to put in place minimum nurse staffing ratios in our nursing homes to ensure residents receive the care they need and deserve. The report calls this long overdue, and we agree.


“The tremendous toll of New York’s nursing home residents – our parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses and loved ones – wherever they died – is part of a national tragedy, and we must make sure it never happens again.”


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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.