WASHINGTON, DC — In response to New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent attempt to blame long-term care staff for infecting residents — rather than his deadly nursing home order — Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Ranking Member Steve Scalise (R-La.) issued the following statement:
“It’s despicable, but not surprising that Governor Cuomo is once again trying to shift the blame for New York’s disproportionate nursing home deaths to anyone but himself and his administration’s deadly policies. To blame the very frontline heroes who put their lives on the line to care for nursing home patients is a new low, even for him. It’s also notable that Governor Cuomo has once again shifted his story from denying he put policies in place to mandate nursing homes accept COVID-positive patients, to now doubling down on his reckless guidance that ran counter to CMS recommendations. Despite his ever-changing narrative, the facts haven’t changed: On March 25, Governor Cuomo mandated New York nursing homes admit COVID-positive patients to their facilities regardless of their ability to isolate them in direct contradiction of guidance released by CMS almost two weeks earlier on March 13. This resulted in at least 25% of New York’s COVID deaths coming from nursing homes and a mortality rate 500% higher per capita than Florida — a state that followed protocols. Governor Cuomo has no one but himself to blame for this tragedy.”
Watch Governor Cuomo’s outrageous remarks here or by clicking on the image below:
- On March 13, 2020, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance “For Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Nursing Homes.”
- The March 13 guidance said that “nursing homes should admit any individual that they would normally admit to their facility, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present” only if the nursing home can follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) quarantining guidance.
- CMS Administrator Seema Verma later said, “[u]nder no circumstances should a hospital discharge a patient to a nursing home that is not prepared to take care of those patient’s needs.”
- Despite these warnings, however, governors of multiple states issued guidance and executive orders forcing nursing homes to admit people with the virus, thereby encouraging the spread to those vulnerable populations.
- While nursing home residents make up 0.6% of the U.S. population, they account for 42% of nationwide COVID-19 deaths, Ranking Member Scalise pointed out at last week’s briefing.
- Scalise added, “New York has suffered 6,423 deaths in nursing homes. New Jersey, 6,539. Compare that to Florida — a retirement state — 1,707. On a per-capita basis, nursing home deaths in New York are 500% higher than Florida and New Jersey is 1,120% higher than Florida.”
- Last week, Democrats sent their own letters trying to blame CMS for the nursing home situation, which Ranking Member Scalise called “desperate” and “completely divorced from reality.”