The report holds New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's feet to the fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the early months, after he directed nursing homes in the Empire State to accept patients who had or were suspected of having COVID-19. The decision created an onslaught of COVID-19 cases that infected thousands of elderly patients and resulted in hundreds of deaths among the state's most vulnerable population.
Cuomo has defended the nursing home policy as in-line with guidance from the Trump administration at the time.
James' report said that government guidance requiring the admission of COVID-19 patients into nursing homes may have put residents at increased risk of harm in some facilities and may have obscured the data available to assess that risk.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) asked 62 nursing homes to provide data about deaths in their facilities.
In one example, a facility reported five confirmed and six presumed COVID-19 deaths at the facility as of Aug. 3 to the Department of Health, yet reported to the OAG a total of 27 COVID-19 deaths at the facility and 13 hospital deaths — a discrepancy of 29 deaths.
The report, which revealed the findings of an investigation into allegations of patient neglect and other "concerning conduct" that jeopardized the health and safety of both patients and employees, said that some facilities failed to comply with health protocols to stop the spread of the virus.
Nursing homes that had low U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Staffing ratings were found to have higher COVID-19 fatality rates.
In addition, lack of sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) equipment for staff, as well as low availability of testing, could have also increased the patients' risk of contracting the virus, the report said.
About 70 percent of the nearly 35,000 COVID deaths in New York were people aged 70 and older, according to state data as of Jan. 28.
Investigations into more than 20 nursing homes whose reported conduct during the first wave of the pandemic presented particular concern are still ongoing, James added.
"As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate," James said in a statement. "While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents."
2 days, 11 hours ago
Report: Spike In New Jobless Claims Driven Entirely By Blue States
The number of new jobless claims in the United States last week substantially passed economists’ expectations — a trend that was effectively driven by blue states alone.
2 days, 14 hours ago
Abbott Announces Big Down Payment On Border Wall For Texas As DeSantis Sends Reinforcements
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced during a press conference on Wednesday that state officials are making a major down payment on a border wall at the southern border
3 days, 9 hours ago
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Pushes Through Pardons For Mask Mandate And COVID-19 Violators
The state clemency board on Wednesday pardoned all Floridians who were arrested or fined for violating local-government requirements about wearing masks or social distancing.
3 days, 14 hours ago
Texas Gov. Abbott signs anti-critical race theory bill
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed legislation on Tuesday outlining how state schools can teach students about race and racism