New York Launches Investigation Into COVID-19 Nursing Home Deaths
New York State has launched an investigation following many COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes.
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the State Department of Health is partnering with Attorney General Letitia James to investigate nursing homes who violate Executive Orders requiring these facilities to communicate COVID-19 test results and deaths to residents' families.
"Nursing homes have been our top priority since day one, and the state has put in place very strict rules and regulations during this crisis to protect and support both vulnerable residents and frontline workers in these facilities," Cuomo said. "These facilities have become the optimum feeding ground for the virus, and the State Department of Health is going to partner with Attorney General Letitia James to ensure nursing homes are following the rules we've put in place and properly caring for and protecting our seniors as we continue to fight this virus."
Cuomo also announced nursing homes must now immediately report to the DOH the actions they have taken to comply with all DOH and CDC laws, regulations, directives and guidance.
The State Department of Health will inspect nursing homes and any facility that's breaking the rules could be fined and potentially lose their license.
"We recognize that the most vulnerable New Yorkers are continuing to suffer through this crisis at nursing homes across the state," said Attorney General James. "While our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit continues to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect in the system, we launched a hotline where residents, families, or members of the public can share complaints about nursing homes that have not provided required communications with families about COVID-19 diagnosis or fatalities. The hotline will also accept complaints about nursing home abuse and neglect, including failure to follow rules to keep residents safe. Every nursing home should be provided with adequate PPE and testing, and enhanced infection control protocols must be implemented to protect residents."
Families can file complaints by calling 833-249-8499 or by visiting www.ag.ny.gov/nursinghomes.
Cuomo previously issued Executive Orders and the Health Department and CDC have issued guidance requiring nursing homes to provide the following:
- PPE and temperature checks for staff
- Isolate COVID residents in quarantine
- Separate staff and transfer COVID residents within a facility to another long-term care facility or to another non-certified location
- Notify all residents and their family members within 24 hours if any resident tests positive for COVID or if any resident suffers a COVID related death
- Readmit COVID positive residents only if they have the ability to provide adequate level of care under DOH and CDC guidelines.