NY Gov Cuomo’s Nursing Home Scandal! (Updated)

By Neenah Payne

The whole nation has been shut down for six months in varying degrees primarily to protect the elderly. The people in nursing homes are considered the most vulnerable population. There are 24 states with Democratic governors and 26 with Republican governors. The Democratic governors of five states sent COVID patients into nursing homes: Gavin Newsom of California, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Andrew Cuomo of New York, and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania. Of the five governors, Cuomo’s deadly policy is considered the most egregious violation of health standards.

Andrew Cuomo’s Report on Controversial Nursing Home Policy for COVID Patients Prompts More Controversy is a July 10 article which says:

On March 25, Cuomo, saying he feared that an onslaught of COVID victims would overwhelm hospitals, issued an order that required nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients being discharged from hospitals, so long as they were “medically stable.” Under the policy, the nursing homes receiving the patients were barred from testing the patients to see if they might still be contagious.

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“Fire Through Dry Grass”: Andrew Cuomo Saw COVID-19’s Threat to Nursing Homes. Then He Risked Adding to It says:

A nursing home [Diamond Hill} in Troy, New York, followed the governor’s order to accept patients being treated for COVID-19. Six weeks later, 18 residents were dead of the disease. The risks to the home’s staff and other residents were obvious: The virus was ravaging nursing homes across the country. But the week before, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his health commissioner, Howard Zucker, had all but made such discharges mandatory. If a hospital determined a patient who needed nursing home care was medically stable, the home had to accept them, even if they had been treated for COVID-19.

Moreover, the nursing home could not test any such prospective residents — those treated for COVID-19 or those hospitalized for other reasons — to see if they were newly infected or perhaps still contagious despite their treatment. It was all laid out in a formal order, effective March 25.

New York was the only state in the nation that barred testing of those being placed or returning to nursing homes. In the weeks that followed the March 25 order, COVID-19 tore through New York state’s nursing facilities, killing more than 6,000 people — about 6% of its more than 100,000 nursing home residents. In all, as many as 4,500 COVID-19 infected patients were sent to nursing homes across the state, according to a count conducted by The Associated Press.

States that issued orders similar to Cuomo’s recorded comparably grim outcomes. Michigan lost 5% of roughly 38,000 nursing home residents to COVID-19 since the outbreak began. New Jersey lost 12% of its more than 43,000 residents. In Florida, where such transfers were barred, just 1.6% of 73,000 nursing home residents died of the virus. California, after initially moving toward a policy like New York’s, quickly revised it. So far, it has lost 2% of its 103,000 nursing home residents.

The decision by Cuomo and Zucker, whose department regulates all nursing homes in the state, drew fire as soon as it was announced from medical experts, nursing home operators and the families of residents. Cuomo himself had said protecting nursing home residents was the state’s top priority, once calling the threat “fire through dry grass.”

The article points out:

Steve McLaughlin, the county executive where Diamond Hill is located, viewed the state’s directive as madness and chose to defy it, refusing to allow any COVID-19 patients to be returned to, or placed in, the one nursing home run by the county. The 320-bed facility, Van Rensselaer Manor, has not seen a single COVID-19 death.

New York’s true nursing home death toll cloaked in secrecy reports:

Riverdale Nursing Home in the Bronx appears, on paper, to have escaped the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, with an official state count of just four deaths in its 146-bed facility. The truth, according to the home, is far worse: 21 dead, most transported to hospitals before they succumbed.

“It was a cascading effect,” administrator Emil Fuzayov recalled. “One after the other.” New York’s coronavirus death toll in nursing homes, already among the highest in the nation, could actually be a significant undercount. Unlike every other state with major outbreaks, New York only counts residents who died on nursing home property and not those who were transported to hospitals and died there.

That statistic that could add thousands to the state’s official care home death toll of just over 6,600. But so far the administration of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has refused to divulge the number, leading to speculation the state is manipulating the figures to make it appear it is doing a better than other states and to make a tragic situation less dire. “That’s a problem, bro,” state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat, told New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker during a legislative hearing on nursing homes earlier this month. “It seems, sir, that in this case you are choosing to define it differently so that you can look better.”

However flawed New York’s count, Cuomo has not been shy about comparing it to tallies in other states. Nearly every time Cuomo is questioned about New York’s nursing home death toll, he brushes off criticism as politically motivated and notes that his state’s percentage of nursing home deaths out of its overall COVID-19 death toll is around 20%, far less than Pennsylvania’s 68%, Massachusetts’ 64% and New Jersey’s 44%.

Javits Center Emergency Hospital

Dr Zelenko Interview – Part 3, reports that Dr. Vladimir Zelenko of New York said that when Governor Cuomo moved COVID-19 patients from hospitals to nursing homes, the result was a blood bath. Yet, President Trump had sent a military hospital ship which was on the West Side Highway with a thousand-bed capacity that was only 10% full at its peak. So, that was a real option where people could have been sent to recover. However, they were sent back to nursing homes where the most vulnerable patients were. He has friends who lost their parents and grandparents because of that decision. Dr. Zelenko says these decisions were really a crime against humanity, mass murder, genocide – tens of thousands of people died unnecessarily.

Janice Dean Joins Us To Discuss The Real Story Behind The NYC Covid Nursing Home Scandal says:

Janice Dean of Fox News joined the show to tell us about her own personal experience of losing her in-laws in the New York City nursing home coronavirus debacle. She says that while she is not a political person, she’s a meteorologist on Fox and Friends, she wants some accountability from the state of New York for the death of her husband’s parents and the loss of nearly 12,000 others like them.

For 46 days, Governor Cuomo allowed COVID patients into nursing homes – which she describes as like pouring gasoline on a fire as the virus spread like wildfire! Janice said she is representing thousands of people in her state who do not have answers. She is incensed that Cuomo has never apologized in his many TV appearances – and doesn’t even seem to regret the unnecessary loss of life. In fact, he blames visitors and healthcare workers! Janice points out that both the Javits Center and the Mercy Ship were supposed to take COVID patients and were empty.

However, the USNS Comfort sent by President Trump to help ameliorate the COVID-19 crisis failed for several logistical problems as explained in The 1,000-Bed Comfort Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 20 Patients.

“It’s a joke,” said a hospital executive, whose facilities are packed with coronavirus patients…. On Thursday, though, the huge white vessel, which officials had promised would bring succor to a city on the brink, sat mostly empty, infuriating executives at local hospitals. The ship’s 1,000 beds are largely unused, its 1,200-member crew mostly idle. Only 20 patients had been transferred to the ship, officials said, even as New York hospitals struggled to find space for the thousands infected with the coronavirus….A tangle of military protocols and bureaucratic hurdles has prevented the Comfort from accepting many patients at all.

Hospital ship Comfort departs NYC, having treated fewer than 200 patients shows that the ship left NYC on April 30.

The 1,000-Bed Comfort Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 20 Patients adds:

Late Thursday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York reached an agreement with Mr. Trump to bring Covid patients to the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, another alternative site operated by the military, with 2,500 hospital beds.

It is not clear why Governor Cuomo did not send COVID-19 patients to the Javits Center Emergency Hospital which was ready to accept COVID patients on April 2 – about a week after Cuomo started sending the patients to nursing homes for 46 days.

Cuomo Blames Nursing Home Staffs

Cuomo on sending COVID-19 patients to nursing homes: ‘No, it wasn’t a mistake.’ is a June 11 article which includes a video and says:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued Tuesday to back his handling of coronavirus cases in nursing homes, defending a pivotal March 25 directive that let hospitals send patients with the virus into nursing homes.

Cuomo has been dogged by questions over the decision as COVID-19 swept through nursing homes, killing more than 6,300 residents, the most in the nation. “No, it wasn’t a mistake,” the Democratic governor responded Tuesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to the order. “Because if you look at the facts – and not that anybody looks at facts anymore…You didn’t want to leave a senior citizen in a hospital for two weeks if they didn’t need to be in a hospital bed for two weeks.”

Cuomo has contended that New York was following federal guidelines when it ordered nursing homes to admit infected patients, if medically stable. But as deaths mounted inside the facilities and hospitalizations fell, Cuomo reversed the policy on May 10 under pressure from advocates and relatives. The May 10 order from the state Department of Health also requires one negative COVID-19 test result before any hospital patient is discharged to a nursing home. New York has also since required nursing homes to test employees once a week for the virus.

Cuomo charged Tuesday that it was staff members at nursing homes who appear to have brought the virus into the facilities, not the residents coming back with it from hospitals. “It is that the staff got infected, they came to work and they brought in the infection,” he said. “Now, how do you fix that in the future? I don’t know that you really can.”

Cuomo’s Report Raises More Questions

Andrew Cuomo’s Report on Controversial Nursing Home Policy for COVID Patients Prompts More Controversy is a July 10 article which begins:

A state report on Cuomo’s decision to order nursing homes to take in COVID positive patients in the early days of the pandemic fails to deal with the central question: did such admissions lead to more infection and death, and if so how significantly.

It adds:

In defense of a controversial policy to send COVID-19 positive patients from hospitals into nursing homes, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health department issued a report on Monday saying that the directive did not significantly contribute to the nearly 6,500 deaths that have occurred to date in homes across the state….

In the days since its release, the report has come under withering criticism, from some nursing home executives, medical experts, scientists, and elected officials in both New York and Washington. The critics have challenged the report’s conclusions as dubious speculation and accused Cuomo and Zucker of issuing a cynical document meant to insulate themselves from blame.

“I don’t think this report convincingly demonstrates that the policy was not another important driver of deaths,” said Denis Nash, an epidemiologist and executive director of the CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health. “The key consideration here is a question of ‘what if.’ What if there had been no such policy. … Would there have been fewer deaths? How many fewer? … They didn’t fully leverage epidemiological methods to rigorously address that question, in my view.”

On March 25, Cuomo, saying he feared that an onslaught of COVID victims would overwhelm hospitals, issued an order that required nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients being discharged from hospitals, so long as they were “medically stable.” Under the policy, the nursing homes receiving the patients were barred from testing the patients to see if they might still be contagious.

As ProPublica reported last month, New York’s nursing homes suffered a larger percentage of deaths relative to its total nursing home population than several states that did not have such a policy in place. The state’s directive infuriated many health experts, families of residents and nursing home operators who said they were already ill-prepared and struggling to keep residents safe amid the growing COVID threat. They worried that the policy would needlessly lead to additional infections and deaths inside the homes. Cuomo ultimately rescinded the policy on May 10, after more than 6,000 residents had died and the fears about overwhelmed hospitals had faded. At the time, Cuomo also implemented a range of measures to protect nursing home residents, including routine testing of all staff.

In its report, the health department minimizes any role the admissions of COVID patients might have played in the spread of disease in the homes, citing a review of data made available by the nursing homes themselves.

The report asserts that the majority of the more than 6,000 admissions of COVID patients occurred after the deadliest days at the homes. It says that some 80% of the homes that took in COVID patients had already seen either staff or residents infected. It also says that many of the COVID patients sent to the homes were likely not still contagious. “If you were to place blame,” Zucker said of the number of people who died inside nursing homes, “I’d blame coronavirus.”….

Christopher Laxton, executive director of the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, has criticized the state’s policy as having been enacted without adequate input from experts in nursing home health care. He told ProPublica that the report amounted to “defensive politics on the part of the governor.”

In Washington, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the Republican leader of a House subcommittee focused on the COVID crisis, said the report was consistent with Cuomo’s unwillingness to take responsibility for a misguided and deadly policy. Scalise has demanded that Cuomo turn over records related to the policy and the outcomes at the state’s nursing homes, but Cuomo has so far refused to do so. “Disgusting,” Scalise said of the report.

On Thursday, Scalise sent a letter to Cuomo, urging his compliance with the congressional inquiry and saying many parts of the state’s report were “divorced from science.” “NYSDOH’s report appears to be little more than your administration’s latest attempt to deflect criticism and shift blame for the consequences of your deadly nursing home order,” the letter said. “But blame-shifting, name-calling and half baked data manipulations will not make the facts or the questions they raise go away. The families of those affected by your March 25 order deserve answers about why it was put in place and, rest assured, we will not give up until we get those answers.”….

In determining that COVID patients discharged from hospitals could not have been a significant threat, the report says 252 of the 310 homes that received those COVID patients already had noted infected staff or residents. The report seems to suggest that adding more COVID positive patients to those 252 homes did not increase the risk to the staff and residents. The report is silent on a seemingly important question raised by its own data: Some 58 nursing homes did not have a single case of a sickened staff member or resident prior to the arrival of a COVID patient from the hospital. The report does not say how many, if any, residents or staffers at those homes became sick or died.

Asked by ProPublica about those 58 homes, Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for the health department, would not answer. “They won’t address what happened when they sent COVID patients to homes with no COVID because it’s damaging to their false narrative,” said Steve McLaughlin, the Rensselaer County executive.

McLaughlin has publicly warred with Cuomo since the March 25 directive was issued. He refused to allow COVID patients into the nursing home run by the county, and the 300-bed facility has not had a single case of COVID. At Diamond Hill, a private nursing home in the county that took in four COVID patients, 18 residents died. “The entire report is a whitewash and a sham,” McLaughlin said.

Bruno, the department spokesman, did not respond when told of McLaughlin’s claims.

The report, in arguing that the COVID patients did not add significantly to the death tolls, said that the COVID-19 positive patients were admitted to nursing homes at a median of nine days after hospital admission. The report claimed that most health experts agree such patients would no longer be infectious at that point. In fact, the science on the length of infectiousness is still unsettled. The CDC, on its website, says just that.

Denis Nash, the CUNY epidemiologist, said the state’s own claim meant that roughly 3,000 COVID patients were sent to nursing homes within nine days after admission to the hospital, so by the Cuomo health department standard, many patients were still potentially contagious. Nash said that it would be useful to know how many patients were sent to nursing homes one, two or three days after admission, when they were likely more infectious…..

Bruno did not respond when asked why the state chose to use the median as its metric….

Richard Gottfried, the Democratic chairman of the New York State Assembly’s health committee, has already called for such an independent investigation. “The report seems accurate as far as it goes, but also somewhat beside the point if we are interested in determining the specific consequences of the governor’s March 25 directive,” Gottfried said.

“The question about the order is not how the virus first got into the nursing homes. It’s whether patients returning from the hospital were still contagious, and what should be done if the patient is still contagious. The report was done by the head of the department under scrutiny, and endorsed by two hospital executives with close ties to the department. I respect all three. But the report would have been more valuable and reassuring if it came from independent medical experts, preferably academic.”

The state report argues that New York compared favorably to other states with respect to its nursing home death toll. It cites a New York Times analysis that found that New York “ranks 46th in the nation — meaning 45 states had a greater percentage of fatalities.” But that ranking is based on the number of nursing home deaths relative to each state’s overall death count, not each state’s nursing home population. By that count, New York might fare much worse.

As ProPublica reported last month, New York lost about 6% of its more than 100,000 nursing home residents. New Jersey, which had a similar policy, lost roughly 12% of its more than 43,000 residents. In Florida, where such transfers were barred, just 1.6% of 73,000 nursing home residents died of the virus. California briefly had a similar policy in place but then revised it, losing 2% of its 103,000 nursing home residents as of mid-June. Louisiana had stricter rules and lost 4%, suffering 1,075 deaths out of 26,000 residents.

Any state-by-state comparison is difficult to make because many states count deaths differently. New York, for example, does not count the deaths of nursing home residents in hospitals as nursing home deaths, as many other states do. In defending its policy, the Cuomo administration has stressed that nursing homes incapable of safely caring for COVID patients could have declined to accept them. Several nursing home experts have said many homes feared denying admissions because of the state’s directive.

Shivakoti of Columbia said he thought it would have been preferable for the state, along with doctors and hospitals, to have decided where COVID patients could have best been cared for. “All this was likely difficult to do for the first wave but can be planned for the subsequent waves,” he said..

Tamara Kanetzka, a University of Chicago professor of public health sciences, said that the New York mandate to send COVID-19 patients to nursing homes was “misguided,” and that certain aspects of the report were speculative or disingenuous. But she accepted that staff members were likely the single greatest source of infection at the homes. What is beyond dispute, however, is that county, local and federal authorities had “grossly failed nursing home residents nationwide and probably will continue to do so as the virus surges in much of the country,” she said. “We need to stop finding people to blame and try getting resources and assistance to nursing homes located in the new virus hotspots,” she said.

New York Governor Cuomo Bans Nursing Home Inquiry

Cuomo shoots down probe into nursing home coronavirus debacle is an August 10 article which says:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday shot down the idea of an independent probe into the coronavirus’ tear through New York nursing homes — while again asserting that criticism of his administration’s response is purely partisan.

State pols from both sides of the aisle have called for investigations into the conditions that led to at least 6,400 COVID-linked deaths in the facilities, including what role a March 25 mandate from Cuomo’s Department of Health barring homes from turning away coronavirus-positive patients may have played. “No, I wouldn’t do an investigation,” Cuomo flatly told reporters on a Monday conference call.

Despite the bipartisan support for a probe in Albany, the Democrat governor continued to insist that the calls for accountability are politically-motivated. “I think you’d have to be blind to think it’s not political,” he said. “Just look at where it comes from and look at the sources and look at their political affiliation and … look at what publications raise it and what media networks raise [it]. It’s kind of incredible.”

When a reporter raised the point that an independent probe could be just that — independent — Cuomo swatted down the idea as impossible. “There is no such thing as a person who is trusted by all Democrats and Republicans,” he said. “That person doesn’t exist.”

NY Health Department Asserts Cuomo Order ‘Could Not Be the Driver’ of Nursing-Home Deaths in the State is a July 6 article that reports:

The New York State Department of Health has concluded that an executive order requiring nursing homes to readmit coronavirus patients, issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo, was not the driving factor behind coronavirus deaths in the state’s nursing homes.

On March 25, Cuomo ordered nursing homes and long-term care facilities to readmit patients who had been hospitalized with coronavirus, even if the patients were not fully recovered. The order has been criticized for possibly leading to additional deaths in nursing homes, which have appeared as a major incubating ground for coronavirus.

New York health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker defended the state’s policy at a press conference on Monday, saying that “admission policies were not a significant factor in nursing home fatalities.” State assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat representing Queens, slammed the report as a “cover-up.”

Blame Governors For Coronavirus Deaths in Nursing Homes

Blame Governors For Coronavirus Deaths in Nursing Homes says:

We think of ourselves as civilized, but mindless policies and bureaucratic indifference turned many nursing homes and rehabilitation centers into killing fields. At least 28,000 residents and workers in long-term care facilities already have died from the virus, according to a New York Times analysis done more than a week ago.

That represented one out of every three COVID-19 deaths recorded in the United States at the time and was likely an undercount because of reporting lags and varying state methods. This massacre of a helpless population shames America and Washington must find out why it happened and who is responsible. Elderly people in these institutions could not protect themselves, and because most states banned visitors early in the outbreak, the institutions, their regulators and elected officials were fully obligated to shield them against infection.

The Times found 14 states where more than half of total deaths occurred in facilities for the elderly.
It was 55 percent in Connecticut, 57 percent in Colorado, North Carolina and Kentucky, 58 percent in Virginia, 59 percent in Massachusetts, 61 percent in Delaware, 66 percent in Pennsylvania, 73 percent in Rhode Island and 80 percent in West Virginia and Minnesota. The states with the most nursing-home deaths, New York and New Jersey, didn’t make the list because of so many other deaths, yet more than 10,000 people died in their facilities. The 5,500 nursing-home deaths in New York are more than the total deaths in all other states except New Jersey.

The article adds:

On March 8, Dr. Thomas Frieden, former head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote on CNN that “nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are ground zero.” On March 18, the CDC, in a study of the nation’s first large outbreak, in a nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., told health officials, “Substantial morbidity and mortality might be averted if all long-term care facilities take steps now to prevent exposure of their residents to COVID-19.”

Yet seven days later, Cuomo issued his infamous March 25 order that said, “No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.” Six days after that, on March 31, Murphy used similar language in his order. Although it allowed carve-outs that enabled some facilities to dodge the bullet, the mandate had disastrous impacts overall, with more than 5,000 deaths recorded in New Jersey’s long-term homes.

One of the worst is the state-run Veterans Home in Paramus, which has recorded at least 72 deaths.

NY Investigates Nursing Homes Deaths

Cuomo Indignant As NY Investigates Nursing Homes Deaths is an August 19 video by Del Bigtree of The Highwire which reports that Governor Cuomo is indignant as New York investigates the nursing homes deaths from his forcing the homes starting on March 25 to accept COVID-19 patients for 46 days.

The video explains that because New York counts only residents who died on nursing home property and not in hospitals, the true count of deaths of nursing home people from COVID-19 could be as much as twice the reported 6,000 deaths. Del Bigtree points out that an inquiry should be welcomed as a way to learn from this mistake and avoid it in the future.

Will Governors Be Held Accountable?

Will Governors Escape Blame For Nursing Home Disaster is a report by Jefferey Jaxen of The Highwire which says:

After months of public outcry from angry Americans over the catastrophic mismanagement of nursing homes during the Covid-19 crisis, the government has decided to take action. It was first announced in mid-June that the U.S. House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent letters to five of the country’s largest for-profit nursing home companies, as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

It adds:

Concerned about “lax oversight,” the committee demanded detailed data and reports on their handling of the Covid crisis. “We write today to seek documents and information regarding CMS’s actions to protect vulnerable Americans in nursing homes.” wrote Chairman James E. Clyburn.

The letter went on to state how CMS imposed only limited reporting requirements on nursing homes. On May 1, 2020, CMS implemented an interim rule requiring nursing homes to begin reporting weekly data on coronavirus infections and deaths, tests, and equipment. Inexplicably, CMS did not require comprehensive data prior to May 8, 2020—even though the first nursing home outbreak began in February. Some facilities failed to report any data in their initial submission.

Despite CMS’s broad legal authority, the agency largely deferred to states, local governments, and for-profit nursing homes to respond to the coronavirus crisis. This was where things went from bad to worse. On March 13, CMS issued ‘Covid’ guidance. It was intended to be a blueprint for individual states to follow while determining how to best ‘cocoon’ the most vulnerable to the virus amongst our population, and control any outbreaks. This guidance did not direct any nursing home to accept a COVID-19-positive patient, if they were unable to do so safely.

You probably already know how that worked out. Directly flying in the face of science and common sense, several governors issued orders to force patients into nursing homes. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was chief among them. His now-notorious March 25 directive essentially forbade nursing homes to require incoming patients be tested for the virus or to inquire what their status was. The directive has since been scrubbed from the state’s health department site.

In mid-June, Republican Whip Steve Scalise, the Ranking Member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, announced on Twitter that he had sent letters to five governors (MI, NY, PA, NJ and CA) demanding they explain why they ignored protocols and forced COVID-19 patients into nursing homes. “While nursing home residents make up 0.6% of the U.S. population, they account for 42% of nationwide COVID-19 deaths” Scalise wrote…..

Subcommittee member Mark Green (R-Tenn.) added, “The governors of these states must provide details about their decisions to send contagious COVID19 patients into nursing homes. The American people, and their loved ones, deserve answers. “After being briefed with the data Scalise had discovered, Congressman Mike Garcia published a press release blasting California governor Gavin Newsom and others.

Call For Federal Investigation

Scalise Demands Answers from Governors on Nursing Home Tragedies is a June 15 article which says:

On Monday, Republican Whip and Select Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Scalise, along with the other four Republican members of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent letters to the governors of five states that forced nursing homes to take in COVID-positive patients as part of their pandemic response.

“The decision of several governors to ignore federal protocols and instead mandate COVID positive patients be forced back to their nursing homes ended up being a death sentence for tens of thousands of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” Ranking Member Scalise said. “We owe it to those who died and their grieving families to get to the bottom of why these deadly decisions were made by these governors, ensure we stop this from still taking place, and prevent tragedies like these from happening again as we continue to battle this deadly virus.”

The letters, which Select Subcommittee Democrats declined to sign, were sent to the governors of five states: Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Gavin Newsom of California, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the elderly, especially those living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,” the letters read. “We write seeking information, at a granular level, about the science and information used to inform your decision to mandate nursing homes and long-term care facilities admit untested and contagious COVID-19 patients from hospitals.”

During last week’s virtual briefing about the pandemic’s effect on nursing homes and their residents, Ranking Member Scalise called on Democrat members of the Select Subcommittee to get to the bottom of what motivated these decisions and urged his Democrat colleagues to join the oversight effort. They declined to do so.

“Just about the worst possible thing to do is knowingly introduce coronavirus to the most vulnerable populations, yet that’s exactly what several states did by mandating nursing homes accept infected patients,” Select Subcommittee member Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) said. “These misguided policies deserve close scrutiny, and the leaders who put them in place have a lot of tough questions to answer. Now is not the time to look the other way while placing blame for this crisis on states that are taking a measured, responsible approach to reopening our economy and protecting our communities.”

“The vast majority of those dying in nursing homes are located in the states that blew off the President’s direction and the CDC’s guidance,” said Select Subcommittee member Mark Green (R-Tenn.). “The governors of these states must provide details about their decisions to send contagious COVID19 patients into nursing homes. The American people, and their loved ones, deserve answers.”


DOJ Requests Data From Four Governors

Justice Dept. requests nursing home covid-19 data from four Democratic governors is an August 26, 2020 article in The Washington Post which says:

The Justice Department on Wednesday requested information on covid-19 in nursing homes from the Democratic governors of four states while asserting that their orders during the pandemic “may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents” — a move that drew some questions as being politically motivated.

In a news release, the Justice Department announced it had sent letters to the governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan seeking the data so it could determine “if the state orders requiring admission of COVID-19 patients to nursing homes is responsible for the deaths of nursing home residents.”

The article adds:

In a news release, the Justice Department said New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan required nursing homes to admit covid-19 patients “often without adequate testing.”

The department pointed in particular to a March order in New York that said that a nursing home could not deny admission to someone “solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” and that nursing homes were prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who was medically stable to be tested prior to admission to a nursing homes.

The article points out:

In a joint statement, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said: “This is nothing more than a transparent politicization of the Department of Justice in the middle of the Republican National Convention. It’s no coincidence the moment the Trump administration is caught weakening the CDC’s COVID-19 testing guidelines to artificially lower the number of positive cases, they launched this nakedly partisan deflection.”

The two governors asserted that at least 14 states — including Kentucky, Utah and Arizona — had issued similar nursing guidance but that only Democratic led states were targeted. All of the guidance, the governors asserted, was “based on federal guidelines.”

A similar Fox News story reports:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New York had the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the country with 32,592, many of whom were elderly. It had the second-highest death rate by population: 1,680 deaths per million people, according to the DOJ. New Jersey had the highest death rate with 1,733 deaths per million.

Cuomo, who reversed the controversial nursing home policy on May 10, has shrugged off calls for an independent investigation….He also played down concerns that the official Covid-19 death count in nursing homes could be an undercount. Unlike the federal government and other states, New York is the only state to explicitly say it only counts residents who died on nursing home property from coronavirus in its count of nursing home deaths.

Those who were transported to hospital and died there are added to a separate count. “If you die in the nursing home, it’s a nursing home death. If you die in the hospital, it’s called a hospital death,” the Democratic governor told Albany public radio station WAMC on Wednesday. “It doesn’t say where you were before.” Cuomo explained that if the state were to count a death as a hospital death and a nursing home death, it would lead to a ‘double count’.”

The article links to Cuomo shrugs off concerns over coronavirus nursing home death undercounting. The article Cuomo pushes back against DOJ investigation into nursing homes reports: “Cuomo said the state has sent requested data to the Department of Justice.”

Top image: The Highwire

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