A new column the New York Post describes the “horrors” suffered by New York nursing home residents during the Covid-19 pandemic. The disease “has killed at least 11,000 to 12,000” such residents in New York, which the Post says is “nearly double what the state admits…”
The state’s health commissioner “began fudging the statistics” as the crisis spread, according to the author, a former New York lieutenant governor, who says the commissioner switched in late April from reporting all nursing home resident deaths to reporting only deaths that occurred in nursing homes, excluding those who died after hospitalizations. “That reduced the number to 6,602,” the Post said, when in fact “at least another 17,000 elder-care patients with COVID-19 were sent to hospitals, and an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 of them have died.” The Post attributes its figures to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
That makes for a total of 11,000 to 12,000 nursing home deaths in New York, approximately half of all the COVID-19 deaths in the state. The article notes that this death toll is about six times the disease’s death toll in Florida and California nursing homes, even though both states have higher populations than New York. Per the Post, the disaster is due in part to a March 25th order by the state Health Department “that nursing homes had to accept COVID patients and barred requiring any COVID tests for admission,” causing nursing home facilities to “fly blind” and operate without knowing which patients had the disease.
State authorities have reportedly attempted to shift the blame from themselves to the federal government, asserting that they were following a March 13th recommendation by the CDC. But the Post notes that this advisory “recommended nursing homes admit patients even if they were coming from a hospital battling COVID-19, not that patients with COVID-19 themselves had to be admitted.” Then, on March 18th the CDC “ cautioned against allowing COVID-19 to invade a nursing home, warning that ‘it has the potential to result in high attack rates among residents, staff members and visitors.’” That was a week before the state’s mandate to nursing homes.
The Post goes on to argue that New York did not reverse its order until May 10 under the influence of the hospital industry lobby in New York, which gave more than $1 million in 2018 to a state Democratic Party organization “which helps elect” the governor. The column concludes by recommending New York citizens “demand a health department that protects the vulnerable instead of catering to political donors.”
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.