Members of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis have requested documents and a briefing from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo concerning his March 25, 2020 order that New York nursing homes must admit patients discharged from hospitals even if those patients had been treated for COVID-19. According to a report in the New York Post, those congressmen said the order “likely contributed” to the high COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes.
According to the Post, five Republican members of the subcommittee have requested “six categories of documents and information, including the daily number of coronavirus deaths of a ‘registered nursing home patient at a hospital.'”
The report notes that the New York State Department of Health “stopped listing on that figure on its website” at the beginning of May. The committee members have also requested a briefing of their staff, and have sent similar requests to the governors of Michigan, California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
The order was reversed in May amid criticism by healthcare workers, nursing home industry stakeholders, and resident family members. Governor Cuomo has indicated that the order was following federal guidance from the CDC. Members of the House subcommittee, however, noted that the CDC issued guidance on March 13th, 2020 that said “nursing homes should admit any individual that they would normally admit to their facility.” They also noted that the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said on May 27, ““Under no circumstances should a hospital discharge a patient to a nursing home that is not prepared to take care of those patients’ needs.”
A spokesman for Governor Cuomo said in a statement that the House members were “craven political hacks… apparently seeking some sort of election year boost and to misdirect attention away from the oversight committee’s investigation into the federal pandemic response.”
The spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, went on: “Nothing can cover for the fact that the federal government failed, specific federal guidelines were issued and followed by more than a dozen states, and that present state law… states that a nursing home shall accept and retain only those residents for whom it can provide adequate care—specifically outlawing nursing homes from accepting patients they cannot care for.”
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC work diligently to protect the rights of nursing home residents. Please contact us to discuss in the event you have a potential case involving neglect or abuse.