New legislation could save lives at nursing homes, rehabilitation centers
With thousands of people in New York City dying in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers during the coronavirus pandemic, local leaders are introducing new legislation to save lives and prepare for a potential second wave of the virus.
George Joyce, 71, died in March while at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. His family says they are deeply saddened by how they say he was treated.
His wife Lucille says she believes he died of COVID-19, but that she wasn't able to get an autopsy report. She claims the facility didn't feed him or take care of him properly, nor did they inform her of his condition, or send him to a hospital for emergency care.
"We have a right to know if your family member is sick, a right to know not be brushed off,” said Lucille Joyce.
Sen. Andrew Gounardes tells News 12 Joyce's family members are not the only ones with such complaints.
"We have seen gross mismanagement at a number of homes and it's been downright criminal in some cases how these homes have been behaving,” said Gournades.
He says several homes are being investigated by the state Attorney General's Office, but that it's why he and Assembly Member Ron Kim introduced the new nursing home legislation.
Among other requirements, the new bill would mandate that during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities maintain adequate personal protective equipment, communicate with residents and their loved ones about their condition, inform residents of alternative care options, ensure residents and loved ones can communicate at least three times daily and transfer any COVID-19 patients.
"Because I'm not there, you make him like a beast? That's what they did to his body.....that was my husband. I should've been told your husband is in distress,” said Lucille Joyce.
Joyce's family tells News 12 they're hoping this legislation is passed so that other families don't have to ever go through what they did.
News 12 reached out to Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for a comment on the allegations and has not heard back yet.
As for the new legislation, Sen. Gournardes says he’s received a lot of support for this bill and that he’s anxious to be back in session. He says hopefully it gets passed as soon as possible to immediately go into effect.