Commentary / Coronavirus / Opinion / Politics

Scalise Presses Cuomo on Nursing Home Cover Up

nursing homesRepublican Whip and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Ranking Member Steve Scalise (R-La.) today renewed his call for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to provide all data on nursing home deaths related to his deadly must admit order following a scathing report by the New York Attorney General’s office finding the state undercounted nursing home deaths by up to 50%.

“The report released today establishes that you ordered COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes, this order caused infections and fatalities, and you took concerted efforts to cover it up,” wrote Scalise. “Republicans on the Select Subcommittee and many others have been concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having in nursing homes, particularly in the five states—including New York—that defied Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines and instead issued unfounded ‘must-admit’ orders directing COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes. You have obstructed our efforts to gather facts.”

In June 2020, Select Subcommittee Republicans called on Governor Cuomo to provide information regarding his decision to mandate nursing homes and long-term care facilities to admit untested and contagious COVID-19 patients from hospitals and again renewed the request in July 2020. Select Subcommittee Republicans and the New York delegation also called on New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the origins of Governor Cuomo’s deadly nursing home order and the impact it had on the state’s elderly population.

Scalise added, “Your ongoing lack of transparency with Congress, the people of New York, and the country necessitates your immediate and thorough response to this and all previous letters … You know the number of nursing home residents who unfortunately passed away from COVID-19 but continue to refuse to provide it. This raises serious concerns and insinuates complicity in thousands of preventable deaths.”

Click here or see below for the full text of the letter.

January 28, 2021

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

Considering the shocking new report revealing you and your administration drastically undercounted nursing home deaths in New York state, we write to request your full and immediate response to our previous questions. To date, you and New York State Attorney General Letitia James have failed to respond to requests posed in three separate letters. The report released today establishes that you ordered COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes, this order caused infections and fatalities, and you took concerted efforts to cover it up.

Today, Attorney General James issued a report entitled “Nursing Home Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Among other things, this report concluded that the Cuomo Administration undercounted the total number of “resident deaths associated with nursing homes in New York…by approximately 50 percent.” This report requires your immediate attention and a full and immediate response to the numerous inquiries made by the Republicans on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis (Select Subcommittee).

Republicans on the Select Subcommittee and many others have been concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having in nursing homes, particularly in the five states—including New York—that defied Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines and instead issued unfounded “must-admit” orders directing COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes. You have obstructed our efforts to gather facts. Specifically, the Select Subcommittee has taken the following steps to uncover the truth, which you, in contrast, have sought to obfuscate:

  • On June 11, 2020, the Select Subcommittee held a briefing entitled “The Devastating Impact Of The Coronavirus Crisis In America’s Nursing Homes.” During the briefing, Select Subcommittee Republicans examined the impacts of five governors’—New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, and yourself—orders directing COVID-19 patients into nursing homes, regardless of the home’s ability to properly quarantine and treat them.
  • On June 15, 2020, Select Subcommittee Republicans sent a letter to you requesting information on your deadly nursing home order. To date, we have not received a direct response from you or your administration, though you are clearly aware of our investigation, as evidenced by your decision to hurl political slurs at us rather than simply answer our questions.
  • On June 25, 2020, after receiving no response from your administration, Select Subcommittee Republicans—along with members of the New York Congressional Delegation—called on Attorney General James to investigate your Administration’s nursing home orders and provide us with information. Even though we never received a response, it now appears Attorney General James acted on our request and is investigating your dangerous policies.
  • On July 9, 2020, after still no response from you or your administration, Select Subcommittee Republicans wrote again seeking the data and science behind the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) report shielding yourself from wrongdoing and blaming the hard-working front-line heroes of bringing COVID-19 into New York’s nursing homes. Likewise, we have received no direct response from your office.

Data and transparency drive an intelligent response to any pandemic but considering the novel nature of COVID-19, complete and accurate data is more important now than ever before. An Associated Press report confirmed what the Select Subcommittee said since June, you and your administration are actively covering up the total number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths in your state by not reporting nursing home residents that died in hospitals. Your ongoing lack of transparency with Congress, the people of New York, and the country necessitates your immediate and thorough response to this and all previous letters.

The report issued today by Attorney General James is distressing. Some shocking revelations include:

  • “COVID-19 resident deaths associated with nursing homes in New York State appear to be undercounted by [NYSDOH] by approximately 50 percent.”
  • “From March 25 [the date of your ‘must-admit’ order] to May 8 [the date the ‘must-admit’ order was rescinded], 6,326 hospital patients were admitted [into] 310 nursing homes.”
  • “Data linking the number of nursing home deaths to the admissions policy contained in the March 25 guidance is obscured by that same guidance, which also prohibited nursing homes from requiring COVID-19 testing as a criterion for admission.”
  • “4,000 nursing home deaths occurred after the issuance of the March 25 guidance, including some in 323 facilities that apparently had no reported COVID-19 infections before receiving admission or re-admission of hospital resident who had been diagnosed with COVID-19.”
  • “[T]hese admissions may have contributed to increased risk of nursing home resident infection, and subsequent fatalities…”

Worst of all, during the recent New York State Assembly and Senate hearings on this very topic, New York Commissioner of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker, admitted that New York keeps a count of nursing home resident deaths at hospitals but declined to provide that number under oath. You know the number of nursing home residents who unfortunately passed away from COVID-19 but continue to refuse to provide it. This raises serious concerns and insinuates complicity in thousands of preventable deaths.

Today it is clear, you ordered COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes, this order caused infections and fatalities, and you took concerted efforts to cover it up.

For us to bring transparency and facts to the forefront and provide some semblance of closure to the thousands of families hurt by your recklessness, it is necessary you answer the questions Select Subcommittee Republicans have posed numerous times. As such, we request the following documents and information immediately but no later than February 4, 2021:

  1. The total number of COVID-19 related nursing home deaths, including deaths that occurred at the nursing home and deaths of a registered nursing home patient at a hospital, by day between January 1, 2020 and present.
  2. All State issued guidance, directives, advisories, or executive orders regarding hospital discharges to nursing homes or any and all other types of assisted living facilities, including those previously superseded, in chronological order.
  3. All underlying information, documents, and research used by the NYSDOH to draft the July 6, 2020, report entitled “Factors Associated with Nursing Home Infections and Fatalities in New York State During the COVID-19 Global Health Crisis.”
  4. All information, documents, and communications between the Office of the Governor and the NYSDOH regarding COVID-19 mitigation in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
  5. All information, documents, and communications between the NYSDOH and any and all of the State’s Nursing Home Administrators relating to the implementation of any state COVID-19 guidance, particularly the March 25 “must-admit” order, the NYSDOH report, or the methodology for calculating COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.

In addition to these documents, please provide a staff-level briefing no later than February 4, 2021. This briefing may be conducted remotely for convenience and safety issues. To schedule the briefing or ask any follow-up or related questions, please contact Committee on Oversight and Reform staff at (202) 225-5074.

The Committee on Oversight and Reform is the principal oversight committee of the U.S. House of Representatives and has broad authority to investigate “any matter” at “any time” under House Rule X. Further, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is empowered to investigate “preparedness for and response to the coronavirus crisis, including the planning for and implementation of testing, containment, mitigation, and surveillance activities.” Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this inquiry.

Sincerely,
Steve J. Scalise
Ranking Member
Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis

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Poppy
8 months ago

I’m beginning to think that President Trump worked entirely on his own for the American people. The swamp is full of both parties accepting lobbyists money because the American people just don’t pay you enough to survive. Try surviving on the little Social Security check we get reluctantly from the thieves in Washington. A lot of big talk, no follow through because no one has a hair to follow through and just may be found guilty themselves accepting bribes. I’ve been a Republican for years, but no more. I have faithfully voted for representatives who say one thing and do another or worse, do nothing at all but get paid. Do you know how disenchanting that is? We are being led by liars, thieves, cheats and unholy evil!

8 months ago
Reply to  Poppy

Have you learned of any congress-people who care about “term limits”? There are a few who have term-limited themselves…one being a Congressman from California….Darrel Issa who has now returned. I like that!

Danny Estridge
8 months ago

Hey, he’s just using Hellary’s comment for Bengazi, “Who Cares”. Nuff said. Nothing to see here just keep on moving on to the other expihits ( or however you spell it). I would have liked it if he had said he screwed up, but even then, all he did was sign death orders. We’re starting to look more and more like those dudes in Germany during WW2. You would think we were above that, but I guess not. Sad, Very Sad. When will people be held accountable for the deaths they caused?

Lorey
8 months ago

Cumoo knows u replubicans wont do anything that’s why they give no info. Look at bengazee u failed 2 get info. The gun running 2 Mexico by Obama. U did nothing. They know u are spinless jellyfish. No one respect someone who doesn’t stand up 2 bullies. Not even your own party.

Sue
8 months ago
Reply to  Lorey

Much as I hate to admit it, I believe that you are right. Until Republicans develop a serious spine, and an even more serious set of teeth, they will continue to be stonewalled by Cuomo and his ilk, and the flagrant and shameless flouting and abuse of our laws will continue. Why be law-abiding when there is no reason to do so? Just continue to do what you want and what you want — nothing is going to happen to prevent it or to punish the lawbreakers, and they know it. And unfortunately, there are Republicans who operate the same way, for the same reason — they are Swamp Rats just as much as the Dems.

Ralph S Mills Jr
8 months ago

Between the demonrat state commie czars Cuomo, Newsom, Whitman, Wolf, et.al. and now the addition of the consolidated confusticated swamp dwelling commie Congress and the [un]unifying unjustifiable UNCONSTITUTIONAL rantings/executive orders of Peking Poobah Biden and laughing hyena Harris we can only hope and pray that God will continue to bless America.

Robert
8 months ago

Has any news reporter asked Governor Cuomo why he did not fully utilize the hospital ship or Javits Center for the elderly?

Jazzfest gal
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert

I haven’t heard one biased news reporter ask Cuomo the real question.

Danny Estridge
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert

No, that would admit somebody did wrong. Although I have to ask what requirements the Navy put on the city. If the Navy refused Covid patients, what about the Janvitiz(yes, I still can’t spell) Center. Really, what were they thinking? Both places should have accepted Covid patients. Yet they were only use for “regular” hospital patients? Something stinks and somebody who job it is to save lives got scared. Nobody had the balls to say “we’ll take the patients” because they were scared. That ain’t supposed to happen. Being a retired IDT I can say that’s BS, I’ve been thru a few outbreaks of various diseases, some where I could be killed too. For any doc’s to be afraid, well I was too, still had to do the job though, regardless.

Michele Pierce
8 months ago

Cuomo pure and simple is a murderer and so arrogant he feels he doesn’t need to answer for his actions. President Trump was so responsive to his requests; ventilators, Javitts Center and a hospital ship. They were mostly empty.
Cuomo at the very least needs to resign or start the petition to be recalled like the California governor. We need to systematically remove these radical scum from office one by one!!

rustee1i
8 months ago

Cuomo’s incompetence is only surpassed by the incredible gullibility of his constituents.
I cannot understand how so many people can be blind to his massive ego, lies, and machinations.
Yet these same people saw a horrible human being in the last potus?

Casey C Matt
8 months ago

The left it seems is as adept at killing the elderly as they are unborn babies. Good thing to know that when I die I wont have to be in contact with any of the murderous scum on the left as they will be welcomed in hell.

Ed J
8 months ago

I expect Cuomo’s motive was more sinister. Given that many seniors are more conservative than younger folks, and therefore would generally be predisposed to vote Republican, Cuomo’s efforts may have simply been motivated by his political self-interest in “culling” the population of non-Demshevik voters before the November election.

Jay A.
8 months ago

The Dim way, do something totally stupid and lie about it. Jail time is needed for the arrogant POS!!!

Lukylady
8 months ago

He committed GENOCIDE!

Brenda Blunt
8 months ago

He needs to answer just like anyone else.

a U.S. Citizen
8 months ago

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Diane Jones
8 months ago

What Cuomo did and tried to get away could only happen in a country that has taken away the dignity of those who are aging and disabled. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, visit often; his neglect and charade is common in that environment. Don’t just wag your finger at him. Take your duty to honor and respect your loved ones seriously. Never give up or let your guard over them down. Goons like Cuomo take advantage.

CATHERINE HORNSEY
8 months ago
Reply to  Diane Jones

My cousin, 98 years old was in a nursing home and conditions deteriorated badly when it was sold, 1 nurse for 4 wings of patients and they hired gang members as aides. My cousin was threatened if she said anything or complained to anyone. Thankfully she reported them and told us her family. We told the ‘aide’ that we would come anytime day or night and that there had better not be any problems or any more theft or the police would be called immediately and hell would rain down. The home also hired aides from Western Europe, none of which spoke English, great for old people hard of hearing anyway. For this honor she paid over 35,000 a month for the previlage of staying there, what a horrible American tradegedy

.

joedl
8 months ago

So what will the Republicans do if Cuomo does not comply? Prosecute him? Sorry but I’ve been waiting for that time that they are able to prosecute a single powerful Democrat who have been known to be guilty. Republicans’ words are just that, all words.

rustee1i
8 months ago
Reply to  joedl

Unfortunately, I agree.
There is definitely 2 tiers of justice in this country now!
I don’t see an easy end to this!

teresa
8 months ago

kamakazi como – disgraceful! then he and the clan always try to blame Trump and his supporters. grow up and learn to take the blame for your mistakes,

Richard Lehr Jr
8 months ago

Will the Left demand he give back his Emmy Award for his failures?

Russ
8 months ago

Whitmer(a junior clone of cuomo)did the exact same thing in Michigan . Put virus patients in nursing homes and killed many. Also mimicked cuomo in banning hydroxicloriquine(sp). Both of them should be investigated and charged criminally.

mike in socialist land
8 months ago

CUOMO shud be prosecuted or SUED BIG BIG TIME for what he did to those folk!!
Hopefully S.Court will go after him
or the families will SUE that AH for what he did.
Amazing what these scumbags get away with-Maybe
IN the day of Judgement He pays for it –
Like Sharon below says it right – but not enuf
Our country is worse with what is tolerated and Anti Biblical
Having read and studied this past year Psalms thru Isaiah
this country is amazingly being held back from God and
His mercy which will not last forever – there will be a day of reckoning.
We that are right with Him will just have to wait till then.

Another thing also
There has to be some way to keep the WALL going
75 million Trump voters chip in to a FUND set up by a
wise and reputable system to handle those funds and we the people
will pay for it and tell Dementia Smoe to stick it – now we do it.
Mr Trump shud be contacted on this and see what he says
Somehow this has to be done – keep the next batch of ??
coming and trying to get and make things worse for us.

teresa
8 months ago

i said to have a fund for the wall 4 years ago, when our good President was being bashed for wanting to put it up. i would def put in for it!

alapmi
8 months ago

in new mexico it is on govt land so they have control

Graham Sutton
8 months ago

Do not forget that Cuomo had his mother removed from nursing home care and forced nursing home managers to take Covid positive patients.Murder,murder,murder.

HocasPocas
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Sutton

I heard that that thing that PA called it’s Secretary of State took it’s mother out of a nursing home also . Unfortunately, it is now appointed to be over the whole United States

Lee S McQuillen
8 months ago
Reply to  HocasPocas

Not the secretary of state but probably the “advisor” on virus to Wolf. Bet there were others as well…. Do as I say, not as I do! Sick of it!

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