Amid a package of 19 nursing home reform bills released Friday by the New York State Assembly, one measure seeks to prohibit the creation of any new for-profit skilled nursing facilities in the state, according to a New York Post report.

Sponsored by Assembly Health Chair Dick Gottfried, the bill also would impose a moratorium on expanding the capacity of existing private nursing homes.

“Lots of people have been discovering that there are enormous problems in our nursing homes. COVID may have brought them to light and made them worse, but a lot of us know those problems have been there for many, many, many years,” Gottfried said during Thursday’s remote Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Health. 

Approximately 400 of the just over 600 nursing homes in the state are for-profit, according to a January report from the office of state Attorney General Letitia James.

Lawmakers have been spurred to take action on nursing home policy and regulations in New York amid an ongoing controversy surrounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuomo has come under scrutiny over fatality reporting methods as well as a since-rescinded order that barred nursing homes from turning away COVID-positive residents. 

Gottfried also supports a full repeal of immunity from civil suits for nursing homes, and increased transparency measures.

“We also need laws to make nursing home operators spend more money on patient care, not profits and administrative waste,” Gottfried told Spectrum News. “For-profit nursing homes, which have grown from one-third to two-thirds of facilities, have especially poor patient-to-staff ratios, as well as generally higher patient death rates, infection rates, and instances of bedsores. It’s time to halt the expansion of for-profit nursing homes in the New York state ‘market.’ Nursing homes should be operated to care for people, not as cash-generating profit centers.”

This article appeared in the McKnight’s Business Daily, a joint effort of McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.