May 5, 2021

For immediate release:
Contact: Stuart Marques - 917-273-6194 | Mindy Berman - 518-229-0486

POWERFUL HEALTHCARE WORKERS UNION, 1199SEIU, APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF HISTORIC STAFFING LEGISLATION Latest win in union’s Invest in Quality Care Campaign; bill would require 3.5 hours of daily care for each nursing home resident.

After years of urging lawmakers to resolve the issue of short-staffing and its impact on quality care, 1199SEIU members scored a big win today in their “Invest in Quality Care” campaign, (www.investinqualitycare.org) when the NYS Assembly and Senate passed legislation that requires minimum staffing at all nursing homes. Both houses also passed a bill that addresses safe staffing in hospitals.

The nursing home bill, sponsored by Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, would require a minimum of 3.5 hours of care for each facility resident – and includes penalties for non-compliance. There are currently no minimums for staffing or hours of patient care. 1199 has been advocating for systemic nursing home reform for decades.

The COVID-19 pandemic worsened and amplified several issues at nursing homes, including not enough caregiver/resident time and short-staffing, which are interrelated... Numerous studies have shown that the quality of care a resident receives is correlated to the hours of care they receive. According to the NYS Attorney General, some 15,000 nursing home residents died from the virus

“Right now, too many nursing homes have no minimum requirement for care,” said Milly Silva, an 1199SEIU executive vice president in charge of nursing homes. ”Residents have not been getting the care and attention they deserve because there just aren’t enough workers to care for them, and the evidence is clear that improved levels of staffing will lead to better outcomes for patients.

“Now, New York will join the more than three dozen other states with clear, strong, enforceable standards that allow caregivers and nurses to spend more time with their residents and provide the care they deserve,” Silva added.

“I'm very pleased that the minimum staffing bill in nursing homes has finally passed,” said Beverly Miller, a veteran C.N.A. at Rosewood Nursing Home in East Greenbush. “Hopefully now there will be enough staff to care for the residents. We will have more time to spend with them and give them the comfort and support they need and deserve.”

“Our residents deserve more time and attention than we are able to give them,” said Malcolm Olaker, a C.N.A. in The Pines in Poughkeepsie “This is a victory — a long time coming. Resident care hour minimums in our nursing homes is critical, because it means that we will be able to provide more direct patient care to each individual rather than running around from one to the other; quickly going in and out. When our facilities are safely staffed our residents can get the care they need from us and we can go home at the end of the day feeling like we made a difference instead of just feeling exhausted.”

This nursing home staffing legislation comes on the heels of a win in the NYS budget last month that requires nursing homes to spend 70 percent of their revenue on direct patient care, including 40 percent on staffing. 1199SEIU also led the effort for a law that requires more accountability and transparency throughout the nursing home industry.

The hospital bill, (also Rivera/Gunther) establishes staffing committees composed of frontline healthcare workers who will determine staffing plans in hospitals, creating strong new transparency and accountability measures. It would be the only law in the country recognizing the full care team approach.


1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 450,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all. For more information: http://www.1199seiu.org/