Queens Assemblymember Ron Kim and Voices for Seniors met with Governor Kathy Hochul on Oct. 12, nearly two weeks after denouncing her over decisions that former Governor Andrew Cuomo made during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020.
“Governor Hochul is committed to transparency and restoring trust in government, and she looks forward to working with Assemblymember Kim on these priorities. On her first day in office, the Governor disclosed additional nursing home data, and she will continue to deliver transparency to New Yorkers on the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes. Governor Hochul’s deep sympathy is with the families whose loved ones have been lost to the pandemic, and she appreciates Assemblymember Kim’s dedication to these important issues,” said Hazel Crampton-Hays, a spokeswoman for Hochul, in a statement.
The meeting was called in hopes of tackling a number of requests, including the passage of The Justice for Nursing Home Victims Act, a bill that would compensate family members for the wrongful deaths of their loved ones while also extending the statute of limitations and to ask for government accountability of the deaths, the latter of which seemed to be approaching an agreement according to Kim.
At a Sept. 29 rally outside Hochul’s Midtown office, Kim likened the current governor to her disgraced predecessor, claiming she was complicit with “the state’s mishandling of nursing homes.” But the criticism may have proved somewhat hasty for Kim, however, as the head of state convened with the Assemblyman and his fellow nursing home champions on Tuesday to seemingly iron out some of the differences.
Kim, who also serves as Chair of the Committee on Aging, touted the meeting as an action to demand accountability regarding the fatalities inside nursing homes as a result of COVID-19 and to find transformative solutions within the eldercare system. Hochul seemed to stun many at the meeting by apologizing for the loss of life, according to Kim’s office.
“It’s no secret that during the pandemic the previous governor prioritized meeting with his top industry donors rather than families of hospital and nursing home patients. Consequently, the state chose to protect industry profits, disguised as industry stability, over saving people’s lives. Today, was a refreshing start to what I hope translates into a better and more caring New York that will be honest about mistakes in the past, and center solutions around patient and resident care for the future. We still have a long road before we can achieve accountability but we are thankful for taking a step in the right direction today,” Kim said in an Oct. 12 statement.