Oppose NY A.286/S.1997 – Act Now!

Dear Friend of Ives Hill,

This week, bill A.286 (Gunther) was added to the New York State Assembly Debate list. If the Assembly chooses to take up the debate list, this bill threatens to be passed in the Assembly. Due to the pandemic and associated healthcare staffing crisis, the health and well-being of our most vulnerable NY State residents are at risk due to years of chronic underfunding and lack of state support during a once-in-a-century pandemic. We ask you again to come alongside us and advocate for the seniors we serve.

What the bill does. A.286/S.1997 would increase penalties on providers for requiring mandatory overtime of nurses. This bill proposes civil penalties of up-to $1,000 for a first violation, $2,000 for a second violation, or $3,000 for a third or subsequent violation. The employee shall receive an additional fifteen percent of the overtime payment from the employer for each violation as damages.

How does this affect Ives Hill?

Ives Hill is committed to providing comfort and care to each resident we serve. While we do not mandate overtime on a regular basis for our nursing staff, and often staff volunteer to cover if needed in critical events, there are extreme circumstances when this may become necessary such as crisis events including weather-related issues or extreme staffing shortage circumstances due to mass call-offs or casualty events. This has always been a part of our emergency policies and procedures. This proposed bill places nursing homes in an impossible position due to the need to comply with the new laws on nursing home staffing hours. With this bill, most nursing homes across the state will be required to choose between being penalized for not reaching the nurse hours requirement, or being penalized for having to use mandatory overtime in order to comply with the nurse hours law. This mandate could force nursing homes throughout New York State to face large fines if not in compliance, discontinue admissions, close units, or even be forced to sell, or close their doors permanently.

What does this mean for my loved one?

We are committed to the health and safety of both our staff and residents. Our dedicated staff already do so much and work so hard for our residents during a standard work week. The last thing we want to do is require overtime of our existing nurses. However, to remain in compliance with the newly passed staffing requirement minimums, and in the event that our residents’ needs require our organization use mandatory overtime to provide critical care and service, we should not be penalized for doing so.

How can I help?

The solution to reducing nurse overtime is to provide better Medicaid reimbursement to allow for more competitive salaries, and more investment in training new nurses. The answer is not to impose more penalties.

PLEASE CALL YOUR STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBER NOW to oppose A.286 (Gunther) when it comes up for a vote on the Assembly Floor. After you place a call to your Assembly Member’s Office, please also send this digital advocacy letter to your Assembly Member, Senator and the Governor. Find your Assembly Member’s phone number here.

Again, we share this information so you can understand our commitment to those we serve. We are happy to answer any questions you might have. Please contact Sallie Williams, Vice President of Advancement at advocacy@heritage1886.org for more information or to share your concerns.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support for Ives Hill and our greatest generation, our seniors.