Safe Patient Handling Opposition Memo

Esq. Stephen B. Hanse in Legislative

Below please find our opposition memo for S.1123-B (Maziarz)/A.2180-B (Gunther), the “safe patient handling” bill, which was hand delivered to each Senator.

                                     MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION

                              S.1123-B (Maziarz)/A.2180-B (Gunther)

                                       “Safe Patient Handling Policy”

On behalf of the New York State Health Facilities Association/New York State Center for Assisted Living, a statewide association of providers of long term care services, caring for individuals of all ages in proprietary, not-for-profit, and government-sponsored skilled nursing, post-acute, adult care and assisted living communities, we write to respectfully oppose S.1123-B (Maziarz)/A. A.2180-B (Gunther). This legislation amends the Public Health Law and the Education Law to mandate a standardized approach for the utilization of mechanical lifts for residents in skilled nursing facilities and hospitals.

Residents in skilled nursing facilities have significantly individualized and diverse care needs that must be addressed and updated on a continuous basis. The unique clinical care needs of our residents range from cognitive impairments, brain injuries, ventilator dependent individuals, dementia, AIDS, rehabilitation, and numerous other impairments and injuries that require personal physical assistance.  Mandating policies of patient care through the standardized utilization of mechanical lifts as required by S.1123-B/A.2180-B is contrary not only to the ongoing clinical care and rehabilitation needs of these individuals but to their personal dignity.

While S.1123-B/A.2180-B provides that safe patient handling policies may consider whether the use of mechanical lifting devices is consistent with a resident’s plan of care, S.1123-B/A.2180-B falls well short of ensuring that a resident’s plan of care plan will in fact supersede the patient handling policy mandated by the bill. As such, while well intentioned, this legislation fails to ensure optimum care, safety and personal choice for residents of skilled nursing facilities.

Patient and worker safety are a priority for New York’s skilled nursing facilities. However, by mandating the purchase and utilization of mechanical lifts without ensuring the best clinical interests of residents, the one-size-fits all policies required by S.1123-B/A.2180-B fail to acknowledge the diverse and ever evolving plans of care that are necessary to ensure the individual well-being of residents in skilled nursing facilities throughout New York.

For these reasons, the New York State Health Facilities Association/New York State Center for Assisted Living respectfully oppose S.1123-B/A.2180-B and request that it not receive favorable consideration.



Stephen B. Hanse, Esq.
Vice President, Governmental Affairs
518-462-4800 x25