Hard-hit nursing homes now left confused by Cuomo’s post-COVID orders

ALBANY — Nursing homes are confused about which pandemic well being and security protocols they need to maintain following and need to know why the state Health Department is directing them to observe some newly expired steering since Gov. Andrew Cuomo abruptly ended the coronavirus state of emergency final week.

Nursing house officers have been begging the DOH for clarification on at the least 30 govt orders after Cuomo’s announcement final Thursday, in keeping with an inner memo detailing the insurance policies in limbo. 

Staffers have been directed to maintain following expired June 10 steering mandating once-a-week testing for unvaccinated staff, emails obtained by The Post present. 

“The current guidance is expired so does that mean we are no longer accountable for testing until a new guidance is released?” one staffer wrote in an e-mail on Monday, June twenty eighth.

“There is no new guidance at this time,” responded the DOH’s “covid nursing home info” basic e-mail. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo abruptly ended the coronavirus state of emergency final week.

But the DOH swiftly launched a revised order Thursday afternoon allowing nursing homes to observe federal CMS steering order as soon as a month testing for these people if the county positivity price is lower than 5 p.c.

New York’s statewide positivity price has been under 1 p.c for the reason that starting of June.

“Effective immediately, operators and administrators of all nursing homes are required to test or arrange for the routine testing for COVID-19 of all personnel who have not been fully vaccinated, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including employees, contract staff, medical staff, operators and administrators, for COVID-19 once per month consistent with county positivity rates and the updated April 27, 2021 CMS guidance (QSO 20- 38-NH) which stated “vaccinated staff do not need to be routinely tested,” wrote Sheila McGarvey Thursday, the DOH’s director of nursing homes in a memo obtained by The Post.

But different points stay in limbo together with whether or not or not unlicensed staff — similar to licensed nursing aides — are nonetheless permitted to offer COVID-19 assessments to residents.

Isabella nursing home
Nursing house officers have been begging the state Health Department for clear steering.
Matthew McDermott

Also up within the air is a requirement allowing out of state staff to maintain posts in New York nursing homes with out dealing with civil or legal penalties for missing a New York license, in addition to the stress-free of strict visitation necessities such whether or not or not vaccinated residents and employees nonetheless have to stick to social distancing guidelines.

Roughly 15,000 virus-related deaths have been recorded in nursing homes for the reason that pandemic started, in keeping with the DOH.

The New York State Bar Association released a report final month blasting the Cuomo administration for adopting the controversial March 25, 2020 directive that required services to confess “medically stable” COVID-19 sufferers discharged from hospitals. Their evaluation concluded the order elevated the general demise toll in elder care services.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of New York is investigating the Cuomo administration’s dealing with of nursing house demise information and whether or not or not officers willingly withheld the true whole of virus-related deaths.

The Democratic-led state Assembly can be probing the matter in a large ranging impeachment inquiry into Cuomo, which incorporates a number of allegations of sexual harassment towards the governor and the alleged misuse of state assets tied to his $5.1 million “American Crisis” e-book deal.

A person on a gurney is seen entering the Cobble Hill Health Center nursing home.
Nursing house staffers have been directed to maintain following expired June 10 steering.
Annie Wermiel/NY Post

“The DOH says no, there’s no change in guidance. Of course there’s changes, because the order is over. It’s just one more in a long series of … horrible communication,” seethed Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, who has been in communication with the county-run house — the Van Rensselaer Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation.

“It’s so unprofessional for the DOH to be clueless for this long. They couldn’t manage a yard sale. It sets up nursing homes for failure, it sets them up to be fined,” he stated. 

“The executive orders and the commissioner’s requirements put in place required staff testing, the maintenance of certain amounts of personal protective equipment based upon a surge over a year ago, the daily HERDS reporting and then requirements on visitation. We expect that the expiration of the executive orders changed all that — but we do not have confirmation on that,” Michael Balboni, govt director of the Greater New York Health Care Facilities Association informed The Post. 

“There is no guidance yet. There needs to be guidance. I know the department is working on it. It’s very easy in some respects to ramp up in an emergency but it’s difficult to unwind, while ensuring that you don’t lose some of the protections that you’ve gained.”

“God forbid there’s a spike,” he added.

“Members are saying ‘get us answers.’ We’re trying to work with the department to get their guidance. They said they’re working on it.” 

The DOH didn’t present fast remark when contacted by The Post.

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