Can it be? Are mainstream media finally going to be reporting about the New York nursing home scandal; the disaster caused by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s horrific March 25th mandate which forced nursing homes to take in COVID-19 sufferers?
Here, pulled from Bernard Condon, Jennifer Peltz and Jim Mustian’s article, is the grim news, and what it meant to the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable population:
More than 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive that was ultimately scrapped amid criticisms it was accelerating the nation’s deadliest outbreaks, according to a count by The Associated Press.
Whatever the full number, nursing home administrators, residents’ advocates and relatives say it has added up to a big and indefensible problem for facilities that even Gov. Andrew Cuomo — the main proponent of the policy — called “the optimum feeding ground for this virus.”
Cuomo, a Democrat, on May 10 reversed the directive, which had been intended to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients as cases surged. But he continued to defend it this week, saying he didn’t believe it contributed to the more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in New York — more than in any other state — and that homes should have spoken up if it was a problem.
“Any nursing home could just say, ‘I can’t handle a COVID person in my facility,’” he said, although the March 25 order didn’t specify how homes could refuse, saying that ”no resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the (nursing home) solely based” on confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
My one problem with what you just read is the line that “…the March 25 order didn’t specify how homes could refuse”.
That is not accurate. As clearly shown immediately afterwards, it wasn’t a case of not specifying how nursing homes could refuse COVID-19 sufferers, it was that they were specifically, in so many words, forbidden to refuse them.
Here – again (I’ve posted it numbers of times over the past four weeks) – is the full, exact wording:
No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH (NURSING HOME) solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.
That leaves no room of any kind for a nursing home to refuse COVID-19 patients. Zero percent.
Since then – with few exceptions (the New York Post being one of them), reporting on the disaster it wreaked on nursing home populations, the fact that Cuomo lied about their ability to refuse COVID-19 sufferers, and the fact that he quietly rescinded the mandate in mid-May, was barely covered by our media. It was buried, very often in favor of promoting the premise that Cuomo was doing a bang-up job handling the COVID-19 crisis, even as the deaths piled up.
Now, with this AP article, maybe – MAYBE – a few more venues will finally report reality instead of their “isn’t Cuomo doing a great job” fable.
To say it is about time is to grossly understate.