Over three months ago the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, Howard Zucker, pledged to disclose the number of nursing home residents who died in a hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic. As Greg Floyd of CBS 6 Albany pointed out in a recent report, Zucker has yet to follow through on that promise. To this day, the true extent of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York remains unknown.
Thats why the Empire Center for Public Policy has filed a lawsuit to obtain the information from the state, while CBS 6 is seeking the data through a Freedom of Information Act request. Floyd notes that Commissioner Zucker “has a huge team to gather and tabulate and re-tabulate numbers” of nursing home resident deaths, and nursing home themselves use an official reporting system called the Health Emergency Response Data System, but nonetheless state authorities have delayed the information’s release by citing that it’s taking time to produce accurate figures. Floyd took it upon himself to see just how difficult it is to gather those numbers—by calling and asking health facilities themselves.
According to Floyd’s investigation, Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville suffered eight Covid-19 fatalities, including six from a local nursing home, the Fulton Center. According to the Columbia County Health Department, there were 20 Covid-19 deaths at the nursing home Grand at Barnwell, including 19 at a local hospital. In the same county, there were 12 deaths at Pine Haven, a nursing home, including eight at a local hospital. Floyd reports that Albany County officials informed him that there were 15 deaths at the county’s Shaker Place nursing home, including 5 at a local hospital.
In a statement to CBS 6 regarding the delays in its release of the numbers, the New York State Department of Health said: “DOH is displaying an unprecedented amount of data in real-time rather than in the traditional timeframe, which often takes months in order to collect and validate. You want accurate numbers, and we want to provide accurate numbers to you. We are taking all the appropriate steps to do so.”
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.