ALBANY (WRGB) - As New York state lawmakers push legislation that would perform nursing home regulations, the Empire Center is saying not so fast.
The nonprofit released a report suggesting they are proposals maybe based on incomplete data.
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The report calls into question the state’s recommendation to regulate staffing levels or for-profit ownership based on conclusions from the state attorney general’s report on Covid-related nursing home data, which linked the deaths to low staffing and for-profit ownership.
The Empire Center’s report goes against those findings, saying the AG’s report is based on incomplete data because it was published before the New York State Department of Health released data on nursing home residents who died in hospitals, raising the total number COVID-related deaths by more than 6,000.
“Our concern was that we should consider what the new data says before we jump into any conclusions for what the right solutions are,” said Bill Hammond, senior fellow for Health Policy at the Empire Center. “We found with the fuller data that the relationship between nursing home death and staffing disappears.”
Hammond, who co-authored the report, found no clear relationship between nursing home deaths and both staffing and for-profit ownership, adding further that he found the highest number of deaths were in state-owned facilities.
“Government-owner (facilities) as a group statewide had the lowest mortality rate of the three, but if you look at the subgroup of state-owner facilities, that was the highest mortality rate of any sub group and a lot of the homes that are defined as state-owned are veterans’ homes, five out of the seven are veterans’ home,” said Hammond.
Hammond goes on to say that he cannot explain why numbers were so high but that he wanted to draw attention to the numbers because it was a pattern that emerged in the data.
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The legislature’s package of proposed reforms include a bill that would mandate minimum staffing ratios for both nursing homes and hospitals, which he says would increase labor cost with uncertain benefits.