Gov. Cuomo rejects calls for investigation into New York nursing home deaths that he helped instigate
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is rejecting calls for an independent probe to be carried out into deaths of coronavirus patients in nursing homes across the state. He said that he believes the demands for the investigation are politically motivated.
The New York Department of Health reports that nearly 6,600 residents have died in the state’s nursing homes and adult facilities, although an analysis by the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity believes the actual death toll could be 25 percent greater than the official tally.
At the heart of the controversy is an executive order signed by Cuomo on March 25 that essentially forced nursing homes to re-admit recovering coronavirus patients who were discharged from hospitals without testing them to make sure they were free of the virus.
Similar mandates were put in place in New Jersey, California and Massachusetts. The idea was to vacate hospital beds so that they would be available to sicker patients. However, those in the nursing home industry, along with workers and residents’ families, were furious about the mandate, especially in light of the fact that elderly people have a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
The Executive Director of the Long-Term Care Community Coalition of New York, Richard Mollot, said the move put a lot of people in “grave danger.” He added: “We know facilities have a lot of infection-control problems, we know that facilities have low staff, so what do you think was going to happen when the staff were further strained in caring for these patients?”
The unpopular mandate was later reversed on May 10.