THE NURSING HOME SCANDAL: GOVERNOR CUOMO’S LIES CONTINUE

Governor Cuomo’s March 25th mandate consigned hundreds, maybe thousands, of elderly, sick nursing home patients to death.  And he continues to lie about it by claiming he was only following orders.

From Joe Ruiz’s article at CNN’S “if we can blame Trump for anything we’ll jump at the chance” website:

Cuomo says New York followed federal guidelines when sending coronavirus patients to nursing homes

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office deflected questions about a report from The Associated Press that the state sent more than 4,500 patients recovering from coronavirus to nursing homes by saying they followed guidance from federal agencies.

“I just want to reiterate once again that the policy that the Department of Health put out was in line directly with the March 13 directive put out by (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) that read, and I quote, ‘Nursing homes should admit any individuals from hospitals where Covid is present,'” said Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa on Saturday during a briefing. “Not could, should … that is President (Donald) Trump’s CMS and CDC.

 

Is that true?  If so, it is terribly unfair to blame Andrew Cuomo for what that heartless Donald Trump forced on him.

Well, let’s check.

First, let’s look at what the CDC guidelines actually say about nursing homes accepting COVID-19 patients:

When should a nursing home accept a resident who was diagnosed with COVID-19 from a hospital?
A nursing home can accept a resident diagnosed with COVID-19 and still under Transmission Based precautions for COVID-19 as long as the facility can follow CDC guidance for Transmission-Based precautions. If a nursing home cannot, it must wait until these precautions are discontinued. CDC has released Interim Guidance for Discontinuing Transmission-Based Precautions or In-Home Isolation for Persons with Laboratory-confirmed COVID-19.  Information on the duration of infectivity is limited, and the interim guidance has been Page 5 of 6 developed with available information from similar coronaviruses. CDC states that decisions to discontinue Transmission-based Precautions in hospitals will be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with clinicians, infection prevention and control specialists, and public health officials. Discontinuation will be based on multiple factors (see current CDC guidance for further details).

Note: Nursing homes should admit any individuals that they would normally admit to their facility, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present.  Also, if possible, dedicate a unit/wing exclusively for any residents coming or returning from the hospital. This can serve as a step-down unit where they remain for 14 days with no symptoms (instead of integrating as usual on short-term rehab floor, or returning to long-stay original room).

That says nursing homes can – not must, but can – accept COVID-19 patients if they are able to follow CDC precautionary guidelines.

It says nursing homes should – not must, but should –  admit patients they normally would admit, including patients from a hospital where someone (not the patient her/himself) had COVID-19.

Therefore, if a nursing home does not have the precautionary capabilities, and/or would not normally admit someone who was exposed to COVID-19, there is no requirement that it has to do so.  And there is no requirement of any kind that it has admit someone who personally has the condition.

Now let’s look at the wording of Governor Cuomo’s March 25th mandate:

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.

Translation:

-The mandate doesn’t give nursing homes any options.

-It doesn’t say a nursing home “can” or “should” accept a COVID-19 patient, it says the COVID-19 patient must be admitted to the nursing home.  No ifs, ands or buts.

-It doesn’t distinguish between patients who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and patients who have actually contracted it.  The wording makes it mandatory that the patient, whatever her/his condition, must be accepted.  Period, exclamation point, end of story.  The nursing home can’t even test the patient to find out if she/he has COVID-19.

Bottom line?  Andrew Cuomo is lying about this. And he continues to lie, confident that a great many mainstream media venues – CNN being the latest, but far from the only one – are going to run cover for him.

The cost for Cuomo’s mandate, his lies about the mandate and media complicity?  Hundreds, probably thousands, of lives from one of our most helpless, vulnerable population segments.

The scandal is horrific.  The cost in human life is incalculable.  And the media complicity is unconscionable.

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