NEW YORK, NY – As new COVID-19 cases decline across New York, nursing homes are requesting a reduction in mandatory testing for their employees.
The New York State Health Facilities Association asked government regulators on Tuesday to reconsider their mandate for twice-weekly COVID-19 testing of all nursing home employees. President Stephen Hanse stated that testing should be reduced to once per week.
Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced these strict testing requirements for nursing homes on May 10, after nearly 5,300 residents died in New York. This mandate was an attempt to make up for the failure to protect nursing home residents during the early stages of the pandemic. However, many nursing homes now believe this level of testing is too expensive and unnecessary, given that infection rates are declining throughout the state.
During a phone interview, Hanse gave a detailed explanation of the nursing homes’ request. He stated that twice-weekly testing is ineffective because of the delay in receiving test results. Hanse also noted that nursing homes often do not receive the results of the first COVID-19 test before administering the second test.
The cost of COVID-19 testing also creates a significant barrier for nursing homes to overcome. Hanse explained that approximately 205,000 people work in nursing homes throughout New York. To provide twice-weekly testing, nursing homes must perform 410,000 tests, at $100 per test. These tests are not covered by insurance, and the cost of testing is creating significant financial strain.
Hanse believes that nursing homes have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep their residents safe at this point in the pandemic.
If you or a loved one contracted COVID-19 in a New York nursing home, the attorneys at Finz & Finz P.C., want to hear from you. Contact us today to share your experience.