Lawmaker seeks change in nursing home visitor rules

Essential Caregivers Act
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 3:16 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - During the pandemic, people in nursing homes were isolated and couldn’t have anyone visit.

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, who represents Watertown and part of Jefferson County, wants the Essential Caregivers Act to change that.

The bill would mandate that a nursing home patient has at least one caregiver or family member that can visit them if nursing home rules restrict most visitors.

That visitor would have to be screened for things like Covid or a fever, but Tenney says it still would put a loved one in the room with a nursing home patient.

“This is particularly important in New York state where we had terrible nursing home policy under Governor Cuomo and so many people were subjected to Covid-19. Many of them died. We heard heart-wrenching stories of looking through windows, never getting to be with their loved ones and they couldn’t be with the people who loved them,” said Tenney (R. - 24th District).

Tenney introduced the bill in 2021 but it didn’t pass.

She will bring it back up this year and says there’s bipartisan support for it.