The NYS Watchdog Program is Failing the Nursing Home Population
It's no secret that with the pandemic came a plethora of staffing and funding issues in healthcare facilities-- especially nursing homes. We've already spoken about certain instances of neglect, like what's been going on at the Van Duyn Nursing Rehabilitation Center and Nursing Home in Syracuse, among other issues. But recently, AARP called out the NYS nursing home watchdog program for being "woefully underfunded". Reportedly, of the 1,400 NYS nursing home and adult care facilities, 52% of them failed to receive a single visit from the watchdog program over the course of three months last year. Keep in mind, these visits are supposed to happen weekly (Alex Weidner, CBS 6 Albany).
This program was intended to give a voice to the nursing home population, but without those constant visits, who knows what issues have come up. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I personally have seen issues within adult care facilities through personal experience; things like patients being left half naked or in just a diaper in hallways, neglecting open wounds on a patient, leaving patients in their soiled diaper for lengths of time etc.
On WRGB CBS 6 News Albany's Facebook post, a Schodack Landing local commented on the situation saying,
Covid taught us that the seniors don't mean much to the state... -Mikey Irish via Facebook (WRGB CBS 6 News, Albany)
Sadly, with the shocking statistics about nursing homes as of late, this Facebook user seems to be onto something.
Senator Cordell Cleare, NYS Senate Aging Committee
There is a very simple yet profound investment we must make in this years budget to ensure quality care, accountability, and transparency. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) has existed since 1972, and it is time we fund it with 2023 dollars. -Senator Cordell Cleare (Alex Weidner, CBS 6 Albany)
The governor and legislature are being called upon by AARP representatives and the NYS Aging Committee to increase funding to the watchdog program from the usual $2.5 million to $15 million in the next state budget (Alex Weidner, CBS 6 Albany). Hopefully, things will change, the sooner the better.