Hospital lobby moves to kill COVID suit against nursing home

New York’s highly effective hospital teams have taken steps to get a federal COVID-19 lawsuit against a Long Island nursing home tossed — calling it a doubtlessly precedent-setting case that would have damaging, “far-ranging consequences” for the trade.

The Greater New York Hospital Association and NYS Health Care Association filed papers in Brooklyn federal courtroom on Friday difficult the suit introduced by Vivian Zayas, whose mother died of coronavirus final yr following her keep at Our Lady of Consolation.

Zayas, who sued final August, is looking for to maintain the West Islip nursing home liable in her mother’s demise, saying it failed to take satisfactory preventative measures to hold the killer bug from spreading.

“They know my case could open the door for victims seeking accountability. We need to protect the residents, not the bottom line of these facilities,” Zayas mentioned.

Vivian Zayas of Voices for Seniors holds a picture of her mother Ana Martinez, 78, who died from Covid-19 in a nursing home during the outbreak.
Vivian Zayas holds an image of her mom Ana Martinez, 78, who died from COVID-19 in a nursing home throughout the outbreak.
Stephen Yang

“We need to see accountability and reform — even it’s one nursing home at a time.”

At the guts of Zayas’ case is the repeal of the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act, a state legislation that shielded hospitals and nursing properties throughout New York from medical malpractice and negligence claims over their dealing with of the pandemic.

The controversial legislation was greenlit by Gov. Cuomo — who’s confronted intense scrutiny over his dealing with of the pandemic in nursing properties — and the state legislature within the spring of 2020 earlier than it was repealed altogether in April.

With her lawsuit, Zayas believes the repeal ought to be retroactively utilized again to March 2020 — although the hospital and health-care lobby argues that may take a devastating toll on the trade.

Several dozen people who lost loved ones in nursing homes during the early months of the COVID - 19 pandemic gathered in front of the Cobble Hill Health Center to demand an apology from Governor Cuomo.
Several dozen individuals who misplaced family members in nursing properties throughout the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic gathered in entrance of the Cobble Hill Health Center to demand an apology from Governor Cuomo on October 18, 2020.
Gregory P. Mango

“Finding the EDTPA’s repeal to be retroactive would expose those individuals and institutions who relied on the EDTPA’s legal protections to criminal and civil liabilities that the Legislature never intended,” mentioned legal professionals Henry Greenberg and Zackary Knaub of GreenbergTraurig, the agency that filed what’s referred to as a “friend of the court” temporary on behalf of Our Lady of Consolation in Zayas’ case. “Doing so would have far-ranging consequences, including potentially inhibiting the State’s response to future pandemics and mass-casualty events.”

The courtroom papers warned against retroactively repealing the “safe harbor to frontline workers and care facilities” that was provided by the state Legislature “during the toughest of times.”

“As New York turns a corner on its recovery from this devastating disease, Courts, in deciding cases arising out of the pandemic, should not forget the important purpose that immunity statutes like the EDTPA play in allowing healthcare professionals and institutions to preserve the lives of those affected by COVID-19 without fear of liability,” the doc mentioned.

Kenneth Raske, President of Greater New York Hospital Association
Kenneth Raske, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association, which filed papers in Brooklyn federal courtroom difficult the suit introduced by Vivian Zayas.
Stephen Yang

The hospital and nursing home lobby teams additionally declare {that a} federal legislation — the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act — pre-empts any state legislation relating to negligence circumstances throughout the COVID outbreak.

More than 53,000 New York State residents have died from COVID, in accordance to Johns Hopkins University information and statistics from the state Health Department present greater than 15,000 of them have been dwelling in nursing properties — a quantity that was covered up for months by the Cuomo administration.

Zayas’ lawyer, Brett Reitner, ripped the group’s try to get her suit dismissed.

A new 76-page report released today by NY state Attorney General Letitia James found that mismanagement and long-standing problems in the private care business turned nursing homes into COVID death traps.
A 76-page report launched by New York State Attorney General Letitia James discovered that mismanagement and long-standing issues within the non-public care enterprise turned nursing properties into COVID demise traps.
Stephen Yang

“Only after it was uncovered that they were hiding the amount of deaths, and after the AG Letitia James blasted the nursing homes for their reckless conduct, were we able to repeal this ridiculous law which stripped thousands of grieving families of their right to sue,” he mentioned.

“The GNYHA, and their members, are unquestionably extremely concerned, and they should be. If we are permitted to engage in discovery and depose the relevant witnesses, I believe the evidence of negligence and recklessness will be shocking.”

The language within the legislation that repealed the immunity afforded to the healthcare trade doesn’t explicitly say it may be utilized retroactively.

Our Lady Of Consolation Nursing Home
Our Lady Of Consolation Nursing Home was the place Ana Martinez died of COVID-19.
Edmund J Coppa

But Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) believes it could.

“The hospitals and nursing homes are trying to protect their bottom line. It has nothing to do with the needs of patients or residents,” mentioned Kim, a staunch critic of Cuomo who filed an affidavit with the courtroom in assist of Zayas’ suit.

“The immunity law I believe was unconstitutional and should never have happened.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.