New Jersey’s Long-Term Care Crisis Prompts Legal Changes
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many weak spots in our society, one of the most worrying is the vulnerability of long-term care facilities across the United States. New Jersey is no exception to this rule, and many frail and vulnerable people suffered greatly during this crisis. Issues have become quite clear, but what is the government doing to address this problem? While steps are being taken to tackle the problem, some are wondering if it is too little, too late.
Perhaps you are currently living in an assisted living home, a retirement home, a long-term care facility, or another similar facility. If you are a senior citizen in New Jersey, you are entitled to a number of inalienable rights. This past crisis has highlighted the fact that the government and private organizations are fully capable of violating these rights when they see fit. In order to hold these negligent parties accountable, it makes sense to hire a lawyer who is familiar with elder law.
New Jersey Has Introduced a Bill to Make Long-Term Care Regulations More Strict
In early 2021, it was reported that federal lawmakers in New Jersey had introduced a new bill that aimed to address issues surrounding long-term care centers. Known as the “Promoting Restoration of Emergency Preparedness and Advancing Response to Epidemics in Long-Term Care Act” (PREPARE LTC Act), the bill would introduce a number of new regulations, including:
- All facilities must create and maintain infection prevention programs
- The US health and human services secretary can no longer waive staff reporting and inspection protocols during pandemics
The Minimum Wage for Long-Term Care Facility Staff Has Been Raised
Also in early 2021, it was reported that the minimum wage for long-term care facility staff had been increased. Previously, these staff members were being paid as little as $11 an hour. New Jersey had already decided to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2019 – however this was only planned to go into effect by 2024. In 2020, the state also decided that long-term care facility staff should always be paid at least $3 more than the minimum wage. This means that by 2024, these individuals will be making $18 per hour.
While this is certainly a massive step up from $11 per hour, we have to consider what kinds of benefits this will have for the average elderly person in New Jersey. Will this address the core root of the problem?
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Elder Law Attorney
Whether you have a loved one in a long-term care facility or you are currently living in one of these institutions, you should always ensure that your rights are being respected. Remember, you have the right to live in a safe, hygienic location at all times. Unfortunately, there have been many examples of these rights being violated in New Jersey during the pandemic. In extreme cases, these violations have even led to the deaths of innocent people. If you want to hold these negligent parties accountable, reach out to Giro, LLP, Attorneys at Law. We’ll fight for your rights.