ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Issues surrounding COVID-19 nursing home policies and resident deaths have been a big focus for the legislature this session, and lawmakers have been working on several reforms so far.

In order for legislation to be delivered to the Governor, the same version of the bill must pass in the Senate and the Assembly. While some proposed changes have passed through both houses, others have only passed through one chamber, or do not have a “same-as” version. 

Some legislation that has been approved by the legislature at large includes a “reimagining long-term care task force,” a measure making it easier for residents and families to become aware of violations at facilities, and the authorization of compassionate care giving visitors. Some say that visitation should be broader. “Now that people have been largely vaccinated among residents if not their care staff, family members and the public are becoming vaccinated… surely we need to open up facilities,” said Richard Mollot with the Long Term Care Community Coalition.

Meanwhile the Senate and Assembly have passed different versions of a bill to require that nursing homes spend at least 70 percent of revenue on patient care, including at least 40 percent on staffing. Advocates are hopeful this will move through. “I think this is a really momentous time in New York State and long overdue that nursing home operators invest in taking care of the people in their care,” said 1199SEIU Hudson Valley/Capital Executive Vide President Greg Speller.

Some bills that have only passed through one chamber so far include a measure to increase the penalties for nursing home violations and another that would repeal legal immunity for nursing home operators during the pandemic.