New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report Thursday which found Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration had “undercounted” the number of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent.
According to an online press release regarding the 76-page report, the discovery was made as AG James was “investigating nursing homes throughout New York state based on allegations of patient neglect and other concerning conduct that may have jeopardized the health and safety of residents and employees.”
Upon looking into the matter, it was discovered “a larger number of nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) published nursing home data reflected and may have been undercounted by as much as 50 percent.”
The report also noted certain nursing homes had failed to meet “compliance with infection control protocols,” which “put residents at increased risk of harm, and facilities that had lower pre-pandemic staffing ratings had higher COVID-19 fatality rates.”
It was also noted in the press release AG James is “conducting ongoing investigations into more than 20 nursing homes whose reported conduct during the first wave of the pandemic presented particular concern.” AG James said:
As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate. While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents.
“Nursing homes residents and workers deserve to live and work in safe environments, and I will continue to work hard to safeguard this basic right during this precarious time,” AG James added.
The New York Times also noted “the count of deaths in state nursing homes has been a source of controversy for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state Health Department officials, who have been sensitive to any suggestion that they played any role in the number of nursing home deaths, which the state put at more than 8,500.”
In October, Cuomo appeared on ABC’s The View and claimed the state’s nursing home deaths allegedly caused by his order to put patients infected with coronavirus back in facilities was a conspiracy theory.
“The conspiracy they’re trying to spread just has no factual basis,” Cuomo said at the time. “But yes, people in nursing homes died, and they’re playing politics with the issue, which I think is especially cruel because people who lost loved ones in a nursing home, they’re dealing with it, and now they also have to deal with the confusion or the pain of maybe government did this.”