The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on adult care facilities, especially in nursing homes.

New York Executive Order

On May 10, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an Executive Order addressing concerns for the safety of residents in these facilities, which included rules for staff testing and re-admission parameters for a resident that had to leave for the hospital. As of this writing, the Order has been extended until July 9, 2020 (subject to further extension by the Governor).

The Order authorized the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to suspend or revoke any license of any such facility that fails to comply with the Order.

What the Order Entails

ALL staff (including administration) of an adult are facility shall be tested for COVID-19 twice per week.  If a staff member refuses testing, then that staff member will not be able to work until testing is performed (and the test result is negative).  If a staff member tests positive, that result must be reported by the facility to the DOH by 5 pm the next day and the staff member must self-isolate pursuant to the period of time recommended by the DOH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As to re-admission to the adult care facility from a hospital stay, the Order indicates that a hospital may only discharge a patient if the adult care facility first certifies that it can properly care for the patient. Additionally, a hospital shall not discharge a patient without the patient first having tested negative for COVID-19.

DOH Directive

On May 11, 2020, the DOH issued a directive regarding safety measures for discharges and admissions to nursing homes including:

  • Personal Protective Equipment required for any staff interacting with a resident with COVID-19
  • Visitation limited to imminent end-of-life situations
  • The facility is required to notify all residents and family members within 24 hours of a positive COVID-19 test or death resulting from COVID-19
  • Protocols for separating residents and staff for positive and negative COVID-19 residents0
  • Daily screening of staff for COVID-19 symptoms

Finally, hospitals may not discharge a patient who is still testing positive for COVID-19 to an adult care facility, nor may such a facility accept such a patient.

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