Hawley urges local residents to testify in hearing about nursing home deaths

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 August 2020 at 8:11 am

There will be a second public hearing about the 6,400 nursing home deaths in the state during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first hearing was on Aug. 3 in Albany and included testimony by Howard Zucker, the commissioner of the state Department of Health.

There will be another hearing on Aug. 10. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley welcomes local residents to provide testimony on Covid-19’s impact on residential healthcare facilities and other long-term care settings.

In Orleans County, 54 nursing home residents died from Covid-19, with 30 deaths at The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion and 24 deaths at Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina.

The joint hearing from Assembly and Senate also is a chance for recommendations for improving systems, protocols and practices to reduce transmission and mortality rates of contagious diseases.

Each citizen who signs up will be allotted five minutes of speaking time, and is reminded that the proceedings are video recorded.

“Many New Yorkers have lost loved ones to the Covid pandemic, with nursing homes being particularly mishandled by state government,” Hawley said. “My staff and I drafted several letters trying to call attention to this issue before more lives were lost. It’s important that every New Yorker who feels comfortable sharing their stories at this event do so. It will provide an opportunity for your testimony to be heard before the state government directly. It won’t bring back anyone we’ve lost, but it will bring hope to the future for those who were left behind.”

Those looking to sign up and have the opportunity to speak are asked to fill out the application form (click here) and email it to the following individuals: Assemblyman Gottfried at GottfriedR@nyassembly.gov,  Assemblyman Bronson at Bronsonh@nyassembly.gov,  Assemblyman McDonald at Mcdonaldj@nyassembly.gov and ‘CC’ Assemblyman Byrne at ByrneK@Nyassembly.gov and Assemblyman Hawley at hawleys@nyassembly.gov.

The State Legislature is seeking input on the Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes. Legislators want to hear about distribution of medical supplies and personal protective equipment, safety inspections and enforcement during the State of Emergency as well as the practices and procedures of residential health care facilities in responding to Covid-19.

These hearings will seek to identify what steps can be taken to reduce the rate of infection and mortality rate and improve the outcomes and experiences of patients, families, caregivers and providers.

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