State Health Commissioner Novello Announces New Information on Nursing Homes Statewide is Now Available to Public

On-line Information Provides New Resources to Help Make Health Care Decisions

ALBANY, March 23, 2005 - New York State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., today announced that the State has expanded public access to important data on nursing homes and is now posting this information on the Health Department web site at www.health.ny.gov. The new information will include expanded quality of care information specific to complaint investigations and enforcement action on nursing homes across the State.

"We are committed to further strengthening New Yorkers access to high quality long-term care by providing consumers with as much information as possible so that they can make informed choices about their long-term care options," Dr. Novello said. "The new and expanded information we are now providing on nursing homes via the internet will give families more information than ever as they make decisions regarding the care of their loved ones."

This new information is included on the Department's recently redesigned web site located at www.health.ny.gov. The redesigned site now has enhanced capabilities and increased efficiencies which allow the department to include expanded data on nursing homes for residents, their families, consumers, and others to consider when making health care decisions.

The Department has posted information on the outcomes of routine annual inspections of all 673 nursing homes statewide for several years. The expanded data will include more descriptive information about licensed nursing homes, including:

  • Medicare and Medicaid certification status;
  • Available services and accommodations;
  • Latest available occupancy rates;
  • Ownership and administration — including a listing of other long-term care facilities they operate;
  • Local ombudsman representative and relevant contact information; and
  • Surveillance history — including information on complaint investigations in addition to routine annual survey outcomes.

This effort builds on the Governor's initiatives to improve the quality of care and service delivery in our state's long-term care facilities. In 1999, the Governor authorized the Department of Health to increase the number of nursing home inspectors and investigators to ensure comprehensive, thorough, and timely review of nursing home care and to further strengthen the Department's oversight capabilities.

Individuals seeking nursing home placement for themselves or a loved one should begin the process by consulting with their physician or the hospital discharge planning staff for suggestions. One should then review the compliance history of the nursing homes they are considering as an option for placement.

It is recommended that individuals and families tour or visit the nursing homes they are considering to determine which of these facilities would best meet the needs of the resident being placed. The aspects to review include the rehabilitative services that are available, dietary options and access to social activities. Other important factors to consider include the cleanliness of the facility, the general atmosphere and design of the facility, as well as the responsiveness of staff to residents.

At the direction of Governor Pataki the State Health Department established a toll-free hotline (1-888-201-4563) for residents, families, advocates, health care workers and the general public to contact with complaints regarding the services and care provided by nursing homes in New York State.