Nursing Home Legal Alert - 6/16/2020

Hurwitz & Fine's COVID-19 Legal Alert: 
Medical & Nursing Home Liability

Weekly News Alert
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
An important message from the Hurwitz & Fine COVID-19 Response Team
This legal alert contains timely news on the impact of COVID-19 on medical and nursing home liability claims.
New York Eases COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Nursing Home Staff
A new Executive Order 202.40 issued by Governor Cuomo on June 9, 2020, relaxes prior testing requirements of nursing home staff after receiving much backlash about the expenses and practicalities of the measure. Now, employees must be tested once per week, instead of twice weekly, and applies to all regions in Phase Two of reopening. New York City, which is still in Phase One, must still test staffers twice per week until it moves to Phase Two on June 22.
Since Cuomo instituted the twice-per-week rule on May 10, more than 425,000 nursing home tests have been processed statewide, resulting in more than 6,500 positive tests, with more than half of those coming from facilities located in New York City. Regions in Phase Two meanwhile have had just 0.76% of tests come back positive highlighting the tremendous progress New Yorkers have made to control the spread of the virus.


Nursing Homes Facing Financial Crisis Due To COVID-19
The nursing home industry was already facing a precarious financial situation prior to the onslaught of the coronavirus. Medicaid – which covers more than 60% of all nursing home residents – typically reimburses only 70 to 80 percent of the total cost of care, and average nursing homes operate at either a loss or a razor thin profit margin (-0.3% on average in 2018).
The impact of COVID-19 has led to surging costs for personal protective equipment, plus bonuses and other personnel expenses used to maintain staffing levels when employees are sidelined by the virus or fear coming to work – supplies to fight the virus have increased costs at some facilities by up to 103% and labor costs have increased by up to 18% on average. This, coupled with a drop in occupancy levels of nearly 100,000 residents nationwide, has created an estimated revenue loss of up to 23%, or $57 Billion. Without federal funding, it is anticipated that many nursing home facilities will be forced to close their doors for good.


A Note from V. Christopher Potenza

The State of New York, not too long ago the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, is slowly re-opening for business in regional and phased approaches.  Western New York, in fact, is moving into Phase Three this week, which will allow bars and restaurants to start serving indoors (at 50% capacity), as well as the reopening of nail salons, tattoo parlors, tanning facilities, waxing services and massage therapy offices.

It would be hard to argue that New York’s aggressive social distancing measures were not successful, and as numbers rise in those states that were early adopters of relaxed social distancing measures, it is important remain diligent, and follow the science and reliable data.
Hurwitz & Fine's COVID-19 Medical & Nursing Home Defense Team
With over 50 years of combined experience in defending doctors, nurses, and medical professionals, as well as hospitals, institutions, and nursing homes, the Hurwitz & Fine COVID-19 Medical & Nursing Home Defense Team is here for you.  The medical field and nursing home community are facing incredible pressure in dealing with this current COVID-19 outbreak that is stretching resources beyond capacity.  We are here to defend our caregivers on the frontlines of this unprecedented pandemic from claims of negligence and malpractice. 

Our defense team has the trial results and experience to vigorously defend our caregivers facing blame in these most trying of circumstances.  Patrick B. Curran has dedicated his 40-year legal career defending medical professionals and nursing homes from claims of negligence and malpractice.  He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University at Buffalo School of Law, and lecturer for the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and School of Nursing, as well as for other health care professional and community groups.  V. Christopher Potenza is a seasoned and trial-tested litigator, having obtained defense verdicts across New York State on complex matters. He has substantial experience defending claims at the federal, state, and appellate levels.  Stephanie L. McCance is also a member of the team, offering her international legal experience with strong analytic and organizational skills. 

As a public service, we are pleased to present this legal alert, which aims to provide our clients and subscribers with timely information on how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact medical and nursing home claims.  In some jurisdictions, newsletters such as this may be considered: Attorney Advertising.
If you know of others who may wish to subscribe to these legal alerts, please feel free to forward it. If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe, please do so at the bottom of this newsletter.
Your COVID-19 Medical & Nursing Home Defense Team
is here to answer your questions:

V. Christopher Potenza, Esq. ([email protected])
Patrick B. Curran, Esq. ([email protected])
Stephanie L. McCance, Esq. ([email protected])

For more information on our COVID-19 Legal Response Team,
including Business Services, Coverage, and Labor & Employment, click here.

For more legal updates regarding the coronavirus, click here.
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