Modified: January 19, 2018 1:59pm
As part of last year’s passage of “Ruthie’s Law,” nursing home facilities located in Erie County are required to submit semi-annual reports to the Erie County Department of Senior Services, with the deadline for the past six months due at the end of this month.
“The passage of Ruthie’s Law was a strong statement of support for our senior citizen population in Erie County to ensure family members are aware of what is happening with their loved ones who reside in nursing homes,” said Erie County Department of Social Services Commissioner Timothy Hogues. “Families depend on quality care and need immediate notifications if something happens that involves a relative, which is why it is imperative that all of the nursing homes in Erie County submit their reports in a timely fashion.”
Ruthie’s Law is local legislation that is a multi-faceted measure designed to better protect senior citizens in nursing homes by providing current information about local facilities to family members. The law requires all nursing homes located in Erie County to inform a designated individual within two hours after a resident suffers an injury that requires hospital treatment.
Ruthie’s Law is named in memory of Ruth Murray, a nursing home resident who passed away in 2016 following a physical altercation with another nursing home resident. Murray’s family members were not informed of the altercation involving her mother or its seriousness until several hours after the event occurred.
The deadline for local nursing homes to submit all “reportable events” from July 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017 is Wednesday, Jan. 31. Each facility is being asked to provide the total number of any altercations between patients and/or staff that results in an injury to one or more patients, or any incident in which a patient is injured so severely that an emergency call to 9-1-1 and/or treatment outside the nursing home is required, or the death of a patient is found to have been connected, even in part, to a negligent act or omission on the part of the nursing home. Information regarding serious injuries or deaths will also be provided. The law also gives the commissioner of the Department of Senior Services the ability to subpoena and review nursing home injury reports to ensure compliance.
Ruthie’s Law was born following actions taken last year by Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and members of the Erie County Legislature, which included Poloncarz signing his sixteenth executive order to affirm nursing home accountability and creating a county website that publicizes the rankings of nursing homes in Erie County. The executive order also charged the county’s Department of Senior Services with preparing a “Know Your Rights” guide for potential nursing home patients that is provided to all who go throughout the options counseling process. Ruthie’s Law was unanimously passed by the Erie County Legislature and took effect after being filed with the New York State Secretary of State.
For more information:
To access the list of Medicare- and Medicaid- certified nursing homes in Erie County, along with their overall federal rating determined by Medicare, based on health inspections, staffing, and quality measure ratings, visit http://www2.erie.gov/saferseniorhomes/
On the Erie County Department of Senior Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/seniorservices/
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