GETZVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Hochul has lifted her previous executive order delaying the implementation of the "Safe Staffing Act," which requires all long-term care facilities in the state to provide at minimum 3.5 hours of individual care to each resident, each day. The law had previously been suspended due to pandemic-related staffing shortages.
"If a nursing home not providing 3.5 hours of direct care time, they are just not meeting the basic clinical needs of their patients," said Richard Mollott from the Long Term Care Community Coalition - a group advocating for higher levels of care in nursing homes.
The Safe Staffing Act comes as a response to many nursing home related incidents throughout the pandemic, in order to insure healthy treatment for all members.
However, staffing challenges have created some issues with immediate compliance.
"These staffing ratios pose a real challenge for our facility. We're not against them whatsoever, but we need time to make this happen." said Bob Mayer, the CEO of the Weinberg Campus in Getzville.
Weinberg, among other nursing homes across the state, doesn't not at the current moment have the staffing capacity to be in line with the new policy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a widespread issue. Since February 2020, more than 420,000 nurses and assistants have walked off the job.
"We are going to have to start getting rid of beds to comply with the law. That means people that are in the hospital and have no where to go will be stuck, and that's horrible," said Mayer.
As of April 1st, the New York State government has not released any information on consequences for nursing homes who refuse or are unable to comply with the law.