March 26, 2021

New York State Missing the Mark with Nursing Home Reforms

The public needs to know what ‘reforms’ some of our State Legislators, Senators and Governor Cuomo are trying to push through in the final FY 2021-22 State Budget. This legislation being advanced in the Senate and Assembly adversely affect nursing homes, both residents and staff. The very same industry that has been at the forefront of this battle, our healthcare heroes working day in and day out throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. During a critical time when we need support, we are instead facing Medicaid cuts, staffing mandates, and reforms that don’t truly help us to care for our residents, and certainly don’t help us to strategically grow our workforce.


Stephen Hanse, President and CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association (NYSHFA) states, “There have been many bills introduced in the State Legislature under the guise of ‘nursing home reform.’ Whether it’s the requiring 70 percent of revenues be allocated to direct care or implementing studies or increasing fines, not one of these bills truly improves quality outcomes or addresses the two most important issues facing nursing homes in our State, namely New York’s long-term care workforce staffing crisis and the State’s 12+ years of slashing over $2 billion in Medicaid funding to nursing homes.”

“Almost 80 percent of New York’s nursing home resident care is reimbursed by Medicaid. The average cost of providing 24-hour nursing homecare in New York is $266 per resident per day, but the State only pays an average of $211 per resident per day – or $8.79 per hour! This $55 Medicaid shortfall is the largest in the Nation and directly impacts a nursing homes ability to retain workers when hospitals can always pay nurses more.”


Will Astor of The Rochester Beacon has artfully penned this article from the voice of families and leadership in skilled nursing facilities throughout these unprecedented last 12 months 

The article link for Will Astor’s piece is below.


NYSHFA and the facilities they  represent Oppose these bills as they impose impractical, inflexible  one-size fits all spending restrictions that fail to consider the unique  real-time demands of providers and their residents.

By  mandating the universal redirection of funding, these arbitrary 70/40 ratio  bills unnecessarily disincentivize, and in many cases, preclude payments for  physician services and critical investments in buildings and operations that  support infection prevention and control and enhance the quality of life of  our residents.

At a  time when providers are facing significant staffing and financial challenges,  this legislation only serves to exacerbate these challenges while failing to  improve quality outcomes or addresses the two most important issues facing  nursing homes in our State, namely New York’s long-term care workforce  staffing crisis and the State’s 12+ years of slashing over $2 billion in  Medicaid funding to nursing homes.

Robert  W. Hurlbut, President of Hurlbut Care Communities, 13 family owned and  operated skilled nursing facilities in the Greater Rochester area, also strongly  opposes these so-called reforms.

“I have  been in this business for over 40 years; the business of caring for our  elderly. I am so tired of our industry being demonized. These two bills are  an abomination! My staff has recovered over 250 residents in our region from  COVID-19 in the last three months. These legislators and the Governor should  be thanking us for what we have been able to accomplish during this pandemic,  instead they are trying to shut down our nursing homes. Where will these  seniors go when nursing homes close? There is not one bill addressing  workforce development for nursing homes. Why not? How many legislators have  actually stepped foot in a skilled nursing facility? Our health care staff  are getting tired of being blamed.  If  these legislators and the Governor really want to make a difference in the  lives of our seniors, then they need to help with funding; namely increasing  Medicaid rates, and by enacting workforce development programs. Nursing homes  will close if they force these mandates on us. There is just not an existing  workforce to fulfill these preposterous mandates. They won’t do a single  thing to help nursing home residents. Why did every Democrat vote in favor of  these so-called ‘reforms’? How many of our Democratic Legislators actually  read both of these bills; most likely none. This is about our most vulnerable  population, and not about political party lines. One of the co-sponsors of  these ‘reforms’, Richard N. Gottfried (Assembly District 75) has been a  politician for over 50 years, showing no real understanding of the nursing  home industry. He is a life-long politician and does not represent seniors in  Upstate New York.”

If  legislators and policymakers are sincere about ‘nursing home reform’ they  will truly work together with the nursing home operators and not respond with  knee-jerk reactions based on mis-truths and deceptive language. Failing to  address these two issues is a failure by the State to implement true and  meaningful nursing home reform. Let’s work together to provide the best care  for our aging population.

Please  direct any questions about NYSHFA and their perspective to Nancy Knapp  at

Please direct any questions for Hurlbut  Care Communities to Connie Lester at