Duffy & Duffy Law Available to Speak on New York Nursing Homes’ Handling of the COVID-19 Pandemic

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK — Attorneys from the law firm Duffy & Duffy Law are available for comment on how New York nursing homes failed to prepare for the coming COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to more than 6,600 deaths.

The firm filed a series of lawsuits on behalf of the residents’ families, claiming the facilities willfully failed to implement an infection control program as required by the 2016 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Final Rule and its accompanying 2019 memorandum. Further, the nursing homes violated New York State Public Health Law by failing to properly train their staff on infection control and emergency preparedness. In addition, they did not heed the warnings from the New York State Health Department back in February that the virus would hit the state.

On April 3, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that protected nursing homes and hospitals from legal liability during the pandemic, except in instances of willful gross negligence or reckless misconduct. However, in response to the increase in COVID-19 related deaths at these facilities, the state Legislature approved a bill on August 3 that would roll back certain legal protections for hospitals and nursing homes.

On July 28, the state Legislature began holding a series of hearings to investigate how the coronavirus spread through the nursing homes and, specifically, if it was related to a state order requiring nursing homes to take in residents who had the virus. Currently, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division also began its investigation to determine if the state directive contributed to the residents’ deaths.

For more information, call (516) 394-4200 or visit www.duffyduffylaw.com.

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About Duffy & Duffy Law

Based in Uniondale, New York, Duffy & Duffy Law offers solid and legal counsel and representation to people who have suffered from negligence and medical malpractice. The firm advocates for patients of negligent physicians and nurses throughout New York, sheds light on uninsurable doctors who continued practicing and held insurance companies accountable for dictating patients’ course of treatment, leading to tragic outcomes. Duffy & Duffy Law serves injured individuals throughout Nassau, Suffolk, and Kings Counties, as well as the Bronx, Queens and other areas of New York. For more information, call (516) 394-4200 or visit www.duffyduffylaw.com.

Michael Duffy Comments on Cuomo’s Signing of Limited Malpractice Liability Bill into Law

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK — Michael Duffy, Managing Partner, Duffy & Duffy, PLLC, is available to comment on the new limited malpractice liability law covering hospitals and nursing homes in their treatment of patients with COVID-19. He says that the focus should be on the patients and not on the healthcare facilities’ bottom lines.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill into law that limits the liability protections of nursing homes and hospitals only to coronavirus patients from now on. This is a change from the law Governor Cuomo signed in March which provided broader liability protections to healthcare facilities during the pandemic, except during instances of criminal activity or gross negligence.

“The immunity provision contained within the New York State budget, put into place on March 23, was too broad for its intended purpose,” Mr. Duffy says. “It’s not surprising that industry lobbyists went too far in shielding hospitals and nursing homes from incompetence and lack of proper care. At a time when people are out of work and struggling to make ends meet, the focus should not have been on helping the hospitals’ CEOs and owners protect their profits, but protecting patients from corporate greed and ensuring quality of care for all New Yorkers.”

For more information, call (516) 394-4200 or visit www.duffyduffylaw.com.

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About Duffy & Duffy Law

Based in Uniondale, New York, Duffy & Duffy Law offers solid legal counsel and representation to people who have suffered from negligence and medical malpractice. The firm advocates for patients of negligent physicians and nurses throughout New York, shed light on uninsurable doctors who continued practicing and held insurance companies accountable for dictating patients’ course of treatment, leading to tragic outcomes. Duffy & Duffy Law serves injured individuals throughout Nassau, Suffolk, and Kings Counties, as well as the Bronx, Queens and other areas of New York. For more information, call (516) 394-4200 or visit www.duffyduffylaw.com.

Duffy & Duffy Law Firm Seeks to Hold Nursing Homes Responsible for COVID-19 Deaths

Firm Argues Facilities Failed to Properly Train Staff in Infection Control and Emergency Preparedness as Required by NYS and Federal Laws

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK — Duffy & Duffy, PLLC has announced the first of a series of lawsuits being filed against New York nursing homes on behalf of the families of residents who died as a result of the coronavirus.

The lawsuits claim the defendant nursing home facilities violated the New York State Public Health Law by failing to adequately train their staff on protocols regarding infection control and emergency preparedness. Even before the coronavirus was discovered, state and federal regulations mandated nursing homes be prepared for viral outbreaks.  But back in February, the facilities were specifically warned by the New York State Department of Health about the coming coronavirus pandemic.  Unfortunately, they still failed to prepare for it. The lawsuits go on to say that the nursing homes willfully and/or recklessly violated the residents’ rights to be informed of any significant changes to their loved one’s health and of any care and treatment they receive that may affect the residents’ well-being.

The 2016 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Final Rule and its accompanying 2019 memorandum required nursing home facilities to implement an infection prevention and control program and hire an infection preventionist to oversee the program, but the facilities willfully failed to do so, resulting in the preventable deaths of residents. Although nursing homes were granted immunity during the coronavirus pandemic, the firm contends that the facilities are responsible for the injuries caused due to the reckless misconduct and willful gross negligence of the nursing home administration and staff in failing to comply with public health regulations.

The state’s nursing homes were granted immunity from legal liability as part of the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act that was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on April 2. According to reports, the Greater New York Hospital Association — an industry group that gave $3 million to the campaigns of Governor Cuomo and state Democratic politicians — drafted the legal protections put into the bill.

The firm is seeking to overcome the immunity issue by arguing that the State Health Department issued its warning before the legal protections were granted; the facilities enjoyed the immunity at the expense of the residents’ health; and such protections do not protect the nursing homes from reckless or willful gross negligence.

Research from The New York Times shows that 21% of all COVID-19 related deaths statewide were at nursing homes. Infections and deaths at nursing homes varied widely — of the 452 nursing homes in New York State, 21 had no deaths, and 110 had only one or two deaths as of June 29, according to the state Health Department. These numbers suggest that protocols and preventative measures varied widely among nursing home facilities in the state.

Those nursing homes that complied with state law and had adequate measures in place when the pandemic occurred were more effective in dealing with the outbreak.  On the other hand, the facilities that failed to appropriately prepare and implement these safety rules caused avoidable deaths in large numbers:

Nursing Home County Confirmed/Suspected COVID-19 Related Deaths
Kings Harbor Bronx 59
St. Patrick’s House Bronx 40
The Citadel Bronx 55
The Plaza Bronx 37
Throgs Neck Rehab Bronx 37
Absolut Center Erie 36
Fiddlers Green Erie 65
Bensonhurst Center Kings 36
Cobble Hill Center Kings 56
Haym Solomon Kings 46
Menorah Home Kings 62
The Phoenix Kings 61
Cold Spring Hills Nassau 35
Fulton Commons Nassau 40
Meadowbrook Nassau 38
The New Jewish Westchester 50
LI Veterans Home Suffolk 71
Gurwin Jewish Suffolk 50
Carillon Nursing Suffolk 44
Carmel Richmond Richmond 59
Clove Lakes Richmond 40
Parker Jewish Queens 80
Ozanam Queens 62
Holliswood Queens 58
The Valley View Orange 34
Amsterdam New York 58
The New Jewish New York 58
The Riverside New York 61
Isabella Geriatric New York 68

 

“These facilities were reckless because they had the opportunity to prepare themselves for the coronavirus pandemic, but failed to put the necessary systems in place,” said Damien Smith, Esq. of Duffy & Duffy, PLLC. “The State Health Department told these facilities in February to get ready for this wave, and they made the decision not to prepare. Their collective failure to create and implement infection control procedures as required by the Public Health Law is another reason these nursing homes should not have been afforded the legal protections they enjoyed during the pandemic. These facilities not only made it unsafe for their residents, but they fostered a dangerous environment for their own employees.”

For more information, call (516) 394-4200 or visit www.duffyduffylaw.com.

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About Duffy & Duffy Law

Based in Uniondale, New York, Duffy & Duffy Law offers solid legal counsel and representation to people who have suffered from negligence and medical malpractice. The firm advocates for patients of negligent physicians and nurses throughout New York, shed light on uninsurable doctors who continued practicing and held insurance companies accountable for dictating patients’ course of treatment, leading to tragic outcomes. Duffy & Duffy Law serves injured individuals throughout Nassau, Suffolk, and Kings Counties, as well as the Bronx, Queens and other areas of New York. For more information, call (516) 394-4200 or visit www.duffyduffylaw.com.