New Laws for 2020 – Eye on Nursing Homes

January 2, 2020

By: Raul A. Tabora, Jr.

The last half of 2019 saw a host of new laws signed by the Governor affecting health care providers in New York. The trend  continues to expand the rights of  individuals served by providers such as hospitals, nursing homes and physicians as well as enhance transparency and accountability. Here are some highlights of the new health care laws going into effect in 2020 which impact nursing homes and established operators:

Effective February 18, 2020: Nursing Homes will be required to provide A statement indicating the policy of the facility regarding the granting of physician privileges to residents” in the statement of rights and responsibilities required at the time of admission under section 2803-c of the Public Health Law.

Effective April 14, 2020: Nursing Homes will be required to comply with the following new standards:

1.    Immediately report reasonable cause to believe that any resident has been “subjected to the misappropriation of property” under section 2803-d of the Public Health Law.   This provision extends the requirement that operators, employees, contractors and listed professions report matters involving abuse, neglect or mistreatment of residents which will now extend to misappropriation of property such as thefts of valuables, property or resident funds.

2.    Provide a residency agreement with private rates to all applicants and post this agreement on their web site. In this regard a new section 2803-y has been added to the Public Health Law stating: “Provision of residency agreement. The operator of a residential health care facility shall provide to prospective residents who inquire about admission, and post on its website, a copy of the facility's entire approved residency agreement, including the non-governmental rates charged to residents.”

3.    Under a new § 2803-w to the Public Health Law, DOH will have the authority to require  “Independent quality monitors”. DOH may require a residential health care facility to contract with an independent quality monitor for purposes of monitoring the operator's compliance with a written and mandatory corrective plan, when DOH has determined in its discretion that operational deficiencies exist at such facility that show: 

a.    a condition or conditions in substantial violation of the standards for health, safety, or resident care established in law or regulation that constitute a danger to resident health or safety;

b.    a pattern or practice of habitual violation of the standards of health, safety, or resident care established in law or regulation; or

c.    any other condition dangerous to resident life, health, or safety. 

4.    Comply with enhanced related party reporting and prohibitions under newly enacted section 2803-x of the Public Health Law. Under this section:

a.    The operator shall notify DOH of any common or familial ownership of any corporation, other entity or individual providing services to the operator or the facility. This would include vendors and other contractors of a nursing home. And annually attest to the accuracy of the information provided to DOH under this section.

b.    An operator may not enter into any arrangements to guarantee the debt or other obligation of a party which has not received establishment approval.

c.    Operators must notify DOH at least ninety days prior to executing a letter of intent or other contractual agreement related to the sale, mortgaging, encumbrance, or other disposition of the real property of the facility.

d.    Requires a claw back, where a nursing home is “sold or otherwise transferred and used for a purpose which is not a health care purpose”  which mandates that “the operator shall remit to the department an amount equivalent to the undepreciated value of capital assets for which the provider has been funded or reimbursed through Medicaid rate adjustments or otherwise funded or reimbursed with resources provided by the state for the purpose of improvement or transformation.”

The Long Term Care attorneys at Bond are available to address any compliance issues raised by these new obligations as well as assist in the implementation of the new reporting standards established by the Legislature in these areas.