Andrew Cuomo Backs Down: Hospitals Can No Longer Send Coronavirus Patients to Nursing Homes in New York

In this April 18, 2020 photo provided by the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Gov. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol in Albany. New York's daily toll of coronavirus deaths hit its lowest point in more than two …
Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reversed his controversial policy Sunday that had required nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients — even though the elderly are at far greater risk than other people from the impacts of the disease.

“Hospitals, going forward, cannot discharge a patient to a nursing home unless the patient tests negative for COVID-19. So we’re just not going to send a person who is positive to a nursing home after a hospital visit. Period,” Cuomo said at a press briefing Sunday.

The decision reversed a March 25 directive from the state, which read in part (original emphasis): “No resident [of a nursing home] 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.”

The directive was first flagged by conservative radio host Mark Levin and by the Wall Street Journal. A medical director of a nursing home in New York called Levin and warned that the state was sending coronavirus patients into residential nursing facilities.

However, the mainstream media largely ignored the story until the New York Post began asking questions about it, with columnist Michael Goodwin slamming Cuomo’s policy.

New Jersey and California had similar directives, but California relaxed its rules after media coverage and public criticism.

The mainstream media eventually noticed the directive more widely, and the New York Times published an article that included quotes from critics. One health care worker called Cuomo’s policy “a sentence of death for all the older patients.”

At first, Cuomo claimed not to know about the policy. Then he blamed the greed of nursing homes, claiming they could have rejected coronavirus patients by transferring them to the state or to other facilities, but that many wanted to earn money from treating those patients, despite the risks to other residents.

Cuomo continued to defend the directive on Sunday, even as he rescinded it, saying that policy had followed the “facts.”

Despite the controversy over Cuomo’s policy, polls show overwhelming support for the governor’s coronavirus response.

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, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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