A recent report by the New York State Bar Association’s Long-Term Care Task Force found that a 2020 health order by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo caused deaths in the state’s nursing homes from Covid-19. According to the Times-Union, the new report pushes back on earlier findings by the Department of Health, which concluded that the order did not cause Covid-19 deaths, attributing them to “the unwitting infection of asymptomatic nursing staff members.”
According to the Times-Union, the new report pushes back on earlier findings by the Department of Health, which concluded that the order did not cause Covid-19 deaths, attributing them to “the unwitting infection of asymptomatic nursing staff members.” The report was written by a 16-person task force and adopted by 93% of the Bar Association’s House of Delegates.It argues that the Cuomo order, which held that nursing homes with the means to care for a patient “could not deny re-admission or admission solely on the basis of a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” was left in place “longer than necessary,” and further that the state government failed to give nursing homes sufficient resources at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In its findings, the Bar Association concluded that while it could not identify a specific number of nursing home deaths resulting from the order, it found that there were “credible reviews that suggest that the directive, for the approximately six weeks that it was in effect, did lead to some number of additional deaths.” Among other pieces of evidence it cited was the Empire Center for Public Policy’s finding that “Covid-positive admissions” in nursing homes caused from hundreds to more than a thousand additional deaths.
In spite of these conclusions, the Bar Association opined that the March 2020 order may not have been “issued in error,” according to the Times-Union, because at the time the state government believed its hospital system was “overwhelmed and in danger of collapse,” resulting in the need for desperate measures. The Bar Association also argued that failures on the federal level were to blame for nursing home deaths, and that even though the Cuomo administration was not entirely to blame, it unreasonably failed “to recognize that nursing homes needed just as much help as general hospitals.”
More information about the New York State Bar Association’s findings about the Cuomo administration’s nursing home Covid order can be found via the Times-Union. You can also read the report in full here.
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.