Late last month, New York State Attorney General Letitia James issued a scathing report about how nursing homes in the state handled Covid-19, including a finding that the state’s Department of Health undercounted Covid deaths at nursing homes by approximately 50%. While the discrepancy didn’t change the overall number of New York Covid-19 deaths, it attributed deaths where a nursing home resident had been transferred to a hospital for treatment to the hospital instead of the nursing home.
This undercount (a term New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has pushed back on) downplayed the high rates of transmission at nursing homes, at a time when the state mandated that nursing homes re-admit patients with Covid-19 who had been receiving treatment in a hospital, a policy that was reversed a couple of months later. (Cuomo has long said the decision to send recovering Covid-19 patients back to nursing homes was based on federal guidance to do so.)
Last year both the US Department of Justice and New York State legislators issued requests for information about nursing home Covid statistics in New York State, but the Cuomo administration, according to a recent admission by a top Cuomo aide, delayed the release of the figures out of concern about a possible politically motivated federal investigation.
Author(s): Jennifer Rodgers
Publication Date: 17 February 2021
Publication Site: CNN