Five Democratic governors are facing additional heat for their policies that forced nursing homes to take in COVID-19 residents.
GOP members of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent letters Monday to the governors of New York, Michigan, California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, seeking answers regarding their policies for nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We owe it to those who died and their grieving families to get to the bottom of why these deadly decisions were made by these governors, ensure we stop this from still taking place, and prevent tragedies like these from happening again as we continue to battle this deadly virus,” Ranking member Steve Scalise (R-LA) said.
The letters call on the states to provide information on their state-issued guidance regarding hospital discharges to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and total number of COVID-19 related nursing home deaths, positive cases and confirmed or suspected cases.
The lawmakers are also seeking communications between the governors’ offices and state departments of health regarding COVID-19 mitigation in long-term care facilities, and between health departments and state nursing home administrators.
“These misguided policies deserve close scrutiny, and the leaders who put them in place have a lot of tough questions to answer,” Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) added.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already faced backlash from both a top U.S. health official and providers for his policy requiring providers to accept COVID-19 patients — even after reversing the decision in May.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in May issued a revised order that requires providers to make “all reasonable efforts” to create units dedicated to residents with the disease. Her initial order required facilities at less than 80% capacity to create dedicated units for COVID-19-affected residents.
Whitmer said the initial policy didn’t require providers to accept coronavirus patients. She added that the revision was to clarify that only facilities that can safely separate positive patients are allowed to take them in.