‘Misled the public:’ Oversight launches investigation into nursing home COVID deaths

(The Center Square) – Republicans on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the House Oversight Committee have joined forces in an investigation over the thousands of nursing home deaths in New York state during COVID, saying New York Democrats ignored previous inquiries.

The controversy began in 2020 when thousands of New York nursing home residents died during the pandemic, drawing extra scrutiny to then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s policy of sending elderly patients recovering from COVID-19 into nursing homes.

Afterward, Cuomo came under fire over allegations that he intentionally hid nursing home deaths. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released an audit earlier this year saying New York’s Health Department “failed to account for more than approximately 4,100 lives in nursing homes due to COVID-19.”

“While the Department’s duty is to act solely to promote public health, we determined that, rather than providing accurate and reliable information during a public health emergency, the Department instead conformed its presentation to the Executive’s narrative, often presenting data in a manner that misled the public,” the audit said.

Lawmakers sent a letter to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul demanding records of key information, including how many total deaths there were and what directives were issued by the governor’s office “regarding hospital discharges to nursing homes or any and all other types of assisted living facilities…”

“We owe it to the thousands of families who lost loved ones in New York nursing homes to hold Governor Cuomo accountable for his reckless policies that likely contributed to their deaths,” Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer said. “It’s past time New York officials provide Congress all information and data about former Governor Cuomo’s deadly order. We need answers and accountability now.”

The Republicans say they previously sent inquiries to Cuomo’s office to no avail.

“Every family deserves answers and accountability for Corrupt Cuomo’s order that resulted in the deaths of thousands of seniors in New York’s nursing homes. For the sake of families who needlessly lost loved ones, I am providing critical oversight of all data on Cuomo’s deadly order,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik said. “We must know how much Kathy Hochul knew about Cuomo’s criminal nursing home coverup and have accountability for the senseless loss of lives.”

Hochul’s office did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

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