New York gets mediocre grades on long-term health care - Catholic Courier

New York gets mediocre grades on long-term health care

To the editor:

The Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC) recently issued a report card. Governor Pataki = B-; State Assembly = B+; State Senate = C-; Attorney General Spitzer = A; New York Department of Health = C-.

For establishing a Patient Protection Section to respond to alleged maltreatment in our state’s nursing homes, Spitzer received an A.

Pataki, the Assembly and the Senate were praised for passing the Assisted Living Reform Act, which will, hopefully, provide good protections for people in assisted living. But they were criticized for failing to adequately support the “Safe Staffing” bill ‚Äì which would require minimum levels of direct care staff ‚Äì and the Nursing Home Diversion Act ‚Äì which would prevent nursing homes with dangerously low staffing from taking in additional residents. Nursing home understaffing has been linked to resident injuries and negligent care.

LTCCC reports that the Assembly, thanks largely to the efforts of Health and Aging Committee Chairpersons, is advancing nursing home reform, “but real progress will require more commitment of the Speaker and general membership.” As for the Senate, “nothing was done to help people in nursing homes, among our state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

The state’s health department received a C- because it “continues to have problems holding nursing home providers accountable for poor care.”

Congress acted responsibly on behalf of Terri Schiavo. But considering that in the past 10 years Congress has issued 32 reports citing deplorable conditions at thousands of nursing homes nationwide, Congress should also devote itself to protecting nursing home residents throughout America.

Mary J. Caruso

Wilson Street


Caruso serves on the LTCCC Nursing Home Staffing Committee, which maintains a Web site at

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