Modified: June 8, 2017 4:04pm
The following is a statement from Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz on today’s unanimous passage of “Ruthie’s Law” by the Erie County Legislature:
“I want to thank the Erie County Legislature for unanimously passing ‘Ruthie’s Law.’ This legislation, which was proposed by my administration earlier this year, will protect senior citizens by requiring nursing homes in Erie County to inform a designated individual within one hour after a nursing home resident suffers an injury that requires hospital treatment,” said Poloncarz. “While we still have to hold a public hearing on this local law before it is officially adopted, I want to applaud all 11 legislators for their support of my legislation and personally thank Carl Smith Kuszniaj, the daughter of Ruth Murray, for allowing us to name the law in memory of her mother, a nursing home resident who was killed last year following a physical attack by another nursing home resident.”
The local law would also provide Erie County’s commissioner of senior services updated data on the frequency of altercations between residents, or between residents and staff, that result in injury. Information regarding serious injuries or deaths will also be provided. The legislation will also permit the ability to subpoena and review nursing home injury reports to ensure compliance.
“I am very thankful that other people will hopefully not have to go through what I have experienced over the past nine months,” said Smith Kuszniaj. “I thank the county executive and each of the legislators for moving forward on something that will protect seniors so that hopefully no one else has to suffer the way my mother did.”
Poloncarz previously signed an executive order creating a website publicizing the rankings of nursing homes in Erie County. Though the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services publish rankings, which are also available through the State Department of Health, county residents are now able to more easily access that information on the county website.
“I echo the county executive’s statement applauding the Legislature for taking action today on this important legislation,” said Erie County Commissioner of Senior Services Tim Hogues. “Getting the local law officially on the books, coupled with the ability for families to access information and make informed choices about their loved ones, are all measures being taken by Erie County to protect our seniors.”
For more information:
To access Erie County’s website that ranks nursing homes, visit www.erie.gov/saferseniorhomes