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Legislature supports Ruthie’s Law to improve accountability in nursing homes

The Erie County Legislature has approved Ruthie’s Law to require improved accountability from nursing homes in cases where a resident has been badly injured. The law, named after Ruth Murray, recognizes that nursing homes have a responsibility to notify family members or guardians when a patient has been badly injured as soon as possible.


“I want to thank the administration and my colleagues in the Legislature for working together to create Ruthie’s Law. What happened to Ruth Murray should never happen. More so, the fact that her family was not given the entire story upfront is upsetting and caused a great deal of pain for them. By requiring that local facilities follow the guidelines of Ruthie’s Law, we take important steps to protect residents and their families, and work toward safer nursing home care,” said Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo. 


“Ruth Murray’s case devastated her family and our community. Since Ruthie’s Law was first proposed, Ruth’s daughter has attended the Legislature’s discussions to support the law and help others. I want to thank Ruth’s family for pushing for these changes, to help ensure others don’t go through what they did. The law doesn’t ask too much from nursing homes. It simply requires that family members are notified of serious injuries as soon as possible and with as much information as possible, and increases reporting efforts to allow for a real look at what is happening at these facilities,” said Chairman John Mills.


In addition to requiring quick notification of family members or guardians, the law requires that facilities provide semi-annual reports to the Health Commissioner that detail the number of “Reportable Events.”


“What we approved today was a law that recognizes the basic need to protect our elderly residents. I know our region has many skilled nursing facilities with caring staff who work very hard to provide a high level of care for the numerous residents they are responsible for. Together, we can ensure high levels of care and accountability when incidents do occur to support family and residents’ rights,” said Legislator Ted Morton.


The law will be sent to the County Executive for approval. To read the complete law, please CLICK HERE.


In addition to the law, the County’s Senior Services Department has launched a website, www.erie.gov/saferseniorhomes, which lists local nursing homes ratings, as determined by Medicare, based on health inspections, staffing, and quality measure ratings. The county also assists residents to understand their options for long-term care through NY Connects. Information on services and options is available at (716) 858-8526, email nyconnects@erie.gov or online at www.erie.gov/nyconnects