Legislators send letter to county administration expressing concern with report stating more than half of Erie County nursing homes are not in compliance with ‘Ruthies Law’

Modified: October 29, 2019 9:36am

10/29/2019

Members of the Erie County Legislature’s Minority Caucus have sent a letter to County Executive Mark Poloncarz regarding a recent report that less than 40 percent of nursing homes in Erie County are in compliance with Ruthie’s Law (WBFO: Most Erie County nursing homes not in compliance with Ruthie’s Law). Ruthie’s Law was passed by the Legislature in 2017 and mandates nursing home facilities to report abuse-related incidents.

In the letter, legislators are requesting the administration follow up with all county nursing homes and compile a report outlining compliance with Ruthie’s Law. Specifically including the number of out of compliance nursing homes, the type and number of attempts to retrieve records from nursing homes that are not in compliance, the length of time nursing homes have been out of compliance, the reason each nursing home has provided for being unable to comply with the requests for disclosure and the administration’s response to those nursing homes. Additionally, the letter requests the administration and Department of Senior Services submit a proposal illustrating how the county intends to deal with nursing homes that are not in compliance.

Legislator Lorigo said, “This situation is troubling and requires immediate attention from the administration. Ruthie’s Law was passed to protect the most vulnerable and hold non-compliant nursing homes accountable. It is concerning that the administration has not adequately followed up to enforce this. I would like to hear from the administration as soon as possible regarding how they will follow up to ensure compliance and what will be done moving forward.  Opportunistic laws that preach safety and action through headlines are not the way government should operate.”

Legislator Dixon said, “It is deeply concerning that so few nursing homes are in compliance with Ruthie’s Law and it is also troubling that the administration has done so little to hold these facilities accountable. The intent of this law is to protect our nursing home residents following a tragic situation. We need all nursing homes to comply with the law and we need answers from our county administration as soon as possible.”

Legislator Mills said, “I proudly supported Ruthie’s Law knowing it was intended to increase accountability in nursing homes for the safety of residents.  To hear that more than half of our local nursing homes are not in compliance is shocking and disturbing. This report needs to be addressed immediately and there needs to be increased accountability moving forward.”

Legislator Rath said, “It is irresponsible to pass laws without any plan in place to enforce them. In this case, Ruthie’s Law is important to ensuring those living in Erie County nursing homes are protected. My colleagues and I hope to receive an explanation from the administration given the urgency of this situation.”

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