A proposal requiring New York’s comptroller office to conduct an automatic review of the state’s nursing home policies surrounding COVID-19 and how well providers complied is being pushed by a Republican lawmaker. 

The proposed amendment to the state’s budget was unveiled late last week by Sen. Sue Serino. If approved, the legislation would require an audit of the state’s department of health and any other agency involved with mitigating the impact of COVID-19 in nursing homes.

The proposed audit would evaluate how the state distributes funding for facilities, current requirements and enforcement of infection prevention and control policies, patient care and health outcomes in nursing homes and a regional analysis of the availability of qualified staff.  

“To pass legislation — or to include policy proposals in the flurry of state budget negotiations — without a full, independent review of the state’s response to the COVID crisis in our nursing homes defies logic,” Serino said in a statement. “To date, we have no understanding of how or why certain decisions were made, and the Legislature’s supermajority has blocked every attempt we put forward to get those answers.” 

The proposal attacks the controversial order put in place by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) last March that forced nursing homes to take in residents regardless of their COVID-19 status. The order was later reversed but the move has been harshly criticized by his Republican counterparts.

Cuomo has also faced scrutiny after the revelation that his office purposely lied about COVID deaths in nursing homes out of fear the information could be used against them.