NY undercounted nursing home coronavirus deaths by as much as 50%

Cuomo's guidance requiring the admission of COVID-19 patients into nursing homes put residents at increased risk of harm

Per Fox News:

New York Attorney General Letitia James said that the state Department of Health underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday. 

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."

11 months, 3 weeks ago

Governors in Iowa, North Dakota and Alabama join GOP colleagues in banning TikTok for state employees

The Republican governors of three more states have joined the growing number of GOP governors who are banning TikTok among state government employees amid security concerns about the Chinese-owned social media platform

11 months, 3 weeks ago

Arizona Governor Creates Shipping Container Border Wall

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has had hundreds of double-stacked shipping containers topped with razor wire placed on the state’s border with Mexico

12 months ago

Stacey Abrams’s Georgia Nonprofit Could Face Criminal Investigations for Unlicensed Fundraising

New Georgia Project's charity license has lapsed in at least nine states

12 months ago

Biden says ‘more important things’ than border visit, despite 59 trips to Delaware, 8 stops for ice cream

Biden has yet to visit southern border despite historic crisis under his watch

12 months ago

Governor Kristi Noem delivers annual Budget Address, says the state can afford grocery tax cut

In about thirty minutes of remarks, Governor Kristi Noem laid out her administration would like to see nearly $2.2 billion spent over the course of the next fiscal year and a half.

12 months ago

‘A Clear And Present Danger To Its Users:’ South Carolina Gov. Bans State Employees From Using TikTok Amid National Security Concerns

South Carolina became the second state in the union Monday to permanently ban state employees’ electronic devices from using TikTok amid federal officials sounding the alarm that the Chinese-based social media app threatens national security