New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is facing backlash from a top U.S. health official for his decision to force providers to accept COVID-19 patients after he claimed the move was inline with federal directives. 

The criticism came after Cuomo over the weekend said the policy was in accord with a March directive from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cuomo said all the state did was “follow what the Republican administration said to do.” 

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

“The issue the governor is bringing up — which I disagree with — is that somehow federal guidance said you should put people who are COVID-positive in the nursing home,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in response Wednesday during a Fox News interview.

She explained coronavirus patients can return to nursing homes if the facility is properly prepared, and federal policy dictates that if a COVID-postive nursing home resident can’t return to that facility, the government will subsidize that patient’s continued stay in the hospital.

“Under no circumstances should a hospital discharge a patient to a nursing home that is not prepared to take care of those patients’ needs,” Verma said.

In a reversal, the state announced earlier this month that it would no longer require nursing homes to admit residents, regardless of their COVID-19 status.

This isn’t the first time Cuomo and state officials have taken heat for the move. Long-term care leaders and providers assailed his directive from the start and warned that the COVID-19 death toll would rise.