New York Nursing Home Deaths Vastly Undercounted
New York has underreported the number of nursing home deaths by thousands. A report by state Attorney General Letitia James confirms this.
The 76-page report follows months of secrecy from New York regarding its COVID numbers. It suggests that nearly 13,000 nursing home residents had died as of January 19th.
Until now, the “official” tally had been 8,505.
According to James, this discrepancy is due to the way New York counted nursing home deaths. Deaths that occurred inside nursing homes were counted, but deaths that occurred after patients were transferred to hospitals did not.
“As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffer at such an alarming rate,” wrote James.
“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,” James also said.
Her report is sure to damage the reputation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D). He is already under fire for a March 2020 policy that sent infected patients back to nursing homes to create more space in hospitals. He also implemented a policy in April that granted immunity to nursing home officials. Given this immunity, several facilities made financially-motivated decisions that put the lives of staff and residents at risk.
As infections continued to climb last summer, Cuomo spent valuable time writing a book.
The book touts his leadership abilities and his frustrations with the Trump Administration.
Governor Cuomo “committed a human rights violation by choosing to protect nursing home profits over the safety of older adults and vulnerable members,” argues State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D). “The Governor handed out blanket immunity to corporate executives which cost lives and brought undue pain and suffering…It is a business model soaked in blood.”
James’s report also supports claims from thousands of New Yorkers who said nursing home death tolls did not include their loved ones.
“Families who lost loved ones deserve honest answers,” says New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D). “For their sake, I hope that this report will help us unveil the truth and put policies in place to prevent such tragedies in the future.”
James will continues to investigate 20+ nursing homes whose reported conduct during the initial wave of the pandemic “presented particular concern.” State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, who will soon testify during a state budget hearing, has been asked to resign.