Dear Governor Hochul:
Welcome to your new office – we are excited to work with your administration to promote the health and well-being of New York seniors, disabled individuals, and families.
We are writing today to urge you to use your new office to act quickly to protect the lives and dignity of residents in nursing homes, assisted living, and other adult care facilities. As all New Yorkers (and, unfortunately, the world) saw, the well-being of nursing home residents was largely discounted and disregarded during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though assisted living residents often have similar needs and vulnerabilities, COVID’s impact on them, undoubtedly profound, is far less known, due to a lack of oversight and transparency for these facilities in New York.
Change is both urgently needed and, with your leadership, achievable. The pandemic exposed and exacerbated long-standing, system-wide failures to keep residents safe and treat them with dignity. Your administration has the authority and ability to make swift, appreciable change by improving accountability and transparency in our state’s long-term care sector.
Please attached find our statement on public priorities for nursing home reform, as well as our policy brief on nursing home funding. With over 30 years’ experience working to improve nursing home care in NY, we would welcome the opportunity to work with you and your staff to address these urgent problems and regain the public’s trust in its long-term care system.
Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner, New York State Department of Health
Brett Friedman, New York State Department of Health
Susan Montgomery, New York State Department of Health