State lawmakers want to set up a massive $ 4 billion nursing home victim compensation fund to provide tax relief to thousands of families whose loved ones have died after contracting COVID-19 in nursing homes.
The legislation – sponsored by State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D-The Bronx) and Assembly Member Ron Kim (D-Queens) – will allow families to submit claims to a victims’ compensation board. nursing homes and receive state payments.
The bill takes inspiration from the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund to help victims of terrorist attacks, including those who suffer health problems after inhaling the toxic stew from the World Trade Center towers that s ‘collapse.
Families will be entitled to a minimum payment of $ 250,000 for each loved one who dies from the virus, and spouses and dependents will each be able to receive a minimum payment of $ 100,000, Kim said.
âThe Nursing Home Victims Justice Act will make it very costly for our state and the nursing home industry to commit seniors. At the height of the pandemic, it is quite clear that the only motivating factor of our state government was to protect the profits of the industry on the lives of people, âKim said.
âWe need to make the cost prohibitive to others of harming the elderly. To do otherwise would be to normalize “reprieve” and to allow the complete abandonment and neglect of the elderly for the benefit of “productive members” of society.
Separately, the bill would extend the statute of limitations for civil claims and causes of action for bodily injury or death of nursing home residents linked to COVID-19, according to the memo.
“This bill sets out regulations to prevent future constraints on nursing home liability, ensuring that injustices of this nature will never happen again on such a scale in this state,” it read.
It’s unclear where the funding will come from in the state budget, but Kim said he plans to meet with Assembly leaders next month to discuss the bill.
More than 15,000 residents have died from COVID-19 in nursing homes since March 2020, but families have been unable to sue because a provision – drafted by the powerful hospital lobbying arm of state – backed by nursing home groups – has been slipped into the state budget granting health care facilities and workers’ liability immunity from negligence lawsuits.
Former Governor Andrew Cuomo later repealed the âEmergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Actâ in April 2021 following outcry from lawmakers, lawyers and families.
But New York nursing home policy has been mired in controversy since the onset of the pandemic – an infamous order issued on March 25, 2020 banned nursing homes from denying admission or readmission of patients with coronavirus in hospitals and also banned them from testing residents for the deadly virus.
Although the order was revoked in May 2020, independent reports confirmed that its effect had resulted in “several hundred and possibly more than 1,000 deaths.”
Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo – who resigned in disgrace last month following a damning report on sexual harassment released by investigators hired by State Attorney General Letitia James – has refused to release the number total deaths in long-term care facilities for months, excluding the number of residents who were transferred from their homes because they were so sick and later died in hospitals.
A lawsuit filed by the conservative Empire Center for Public Policy forced the state to release accurate data, and James’s office later released a report in January confirming the death toll was likely 50% higher than what was reported by the state health ministry.
Next, The Post exclusively reported that key Cuomo associates admitted to withholding data from the federal government because they “froze” and feared retaliation.
The shocking admission sparked an investigation into the case by the FBI and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn – which is apparently ongoing – as well as a key principle of an impeachment inquiry by the Assembly Judiciary Committee of the United States. State.
The body is expected to release a report in the coming weeks, according to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx).
Representatives of Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ââ(Westchester) and Heastie could not be reached for immediate comment on the fund bill. compensation.