DOJ Looking into 4 Democrat States’ Policies on Nursing Homes and Coronavirus

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on July 6 ,2020 in New York City, where he announced that President Donald Trump is enabling the coronavirus pandemic by not wearing a mask and downplaying the problem. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. …
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Justice has asked four Democrat-run states — Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania —  about their policies on nursing homes and coronavirus, seeking to determine whether elderly patients died as a result.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday:

The Justice Department on Wednesday sent letters to the governors of New York and three other Democratic-led states, seeking data on whether they violated federal law by ordering public nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients from hospitals — actions that have been criticized for potentially fueling the spread of the virus.

Prosecutors said the fact-finding letters also sent to New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan were aimed at determining whether the orders “may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”

“We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband said.

As Breitbart News reported earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a directive in late March requiring nursing homes to accept patients who had coronavirus, and even prevented them from testing new arrivals for the disease.

Cuomo’s directive read, in part (original emphasis): “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

After being criticized — especially by conservative radio host Mark Levin — Cuomo reversed the directive in May. In the interim, thousands of nursing home residents died in New York, even though alternative care sites, set up by the military, were available at the USNS Comfort and at the Jacob Javits Center.

Other states chose a different path. The New York Times reported that Connecticut and Massachusetts had designated certain nursing homes for coronavirus-only patients. California had a similar directive to that of New York, but reversed it quickly under media scrutiny and pressure from reform organizations.

Gov. Cuomo and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a joint statement Wednesday, saying GOP-run states had similar policies and calling the inquiry “nakedly partisan,” noting that it came in the midst of the Republican National Convention.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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