NEW YORK – An investigation into nursing home deaths across New York State found the number of fatalities was undercounted.
New York Attorney General Letitia James released a report of her office’s finding on Thursday.
She says her investigation revealed deaths were undercounted by as much as 50 percent.
James also says that nursing homes’ lack of compliance with infection control protocols put residents at increased risk of harm and fatalities.
Based on these findings and subsequent investigation, the AG is conducting ongoing investigations into more than 20 nursing homes whose reported conduct during the first wave of the pandemic presented particular concern.
“As the pandemic and our investigations continue, it is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,” said James in a statement. “While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents. Nursing homes residents and workers deserve to live and work in safe environments, and I will continue to work hard to safeguard this basic right during this precarious time.”
The Office of the Attorney General is the only law enforcement agency in the state specifically mandated to investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect of residents in nursing homes.
Congressman Tom Reed released the following statement in the wake of the AG’s report:
“In early March, they received and began to investigate allegations and indications of COVID-19-related neglect of residents in nursing homes.
Since May of last year, we have worked tirelessly to shine a light on New York’s disastrous nursing home policies to ensure such a colossal public health failure never happens again.
Instead of working with us, Governor Cuomo’s only response has been to ruthlessly attack anyone who questioned the state’s disastrous policies, including those from his party, deny any wrongdoing, and hide damning nursing home fatalities data that would implicate his administration.
Now, the state’s incompetence and gross negligence have been confirmed by its own Attorney General.
As we called for last year, a full federal investigation into New York’s disastrous handling of the COVID-19 crisis is desperately needed. Given the state’s refusal to be transparent, we must also hold additional congressional hearings to fully understand the scope of the state’s incompetence, as well as the state’s efforts to obfuscate the truth.
Governor Cuomo’s lies cannot go on. To the New Yorkers who lost a loved one due to these failed policies, know that this is one step closer towards justice.”
The full report is posted below: