Health

Justice Department Says No Investigations Have Been Taken Into New York State Nursing Homes

According to a letter sent Friday to several Republican members of Congress, the Justice Department has decided not to open a civil rights investigation against public nursing homes in New York City due to their response to COVID-19.

Under former President Donald Trump’s administration, the ministry’s civil rights division last August requested data from four states – New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan – on the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in public nursing homes.

The request comes amid a still unanswered question about whether some states, especially New York, have increased the inadvertent death toll from the pandemic by requiring nursing homes to accept residents previously hospitalized due to COVID-19.

In a letter sent to several Republicans who have requested an investigation, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joe Gaeta said civil rights lawyers had examined the data sent by New York, along with additional information.

“Based on this review, we have decided not to initiate a CRIPA investigation into any public nursing facility in New York at this time,” Gaeta wrote, citing the federal Institutionalized Persons Civil Rights Act, which empowers the Department of Justice to investigate allegations. … about illegal conditions of detention in state houses.

Earlier this week, the Justice Department sent similar letters to officials in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s spokesman Richard Azzopardi declined to comment.

Cuomo, a Democrat, previously accused Trump’s Justice Department of initiating an investigation for purely political reasons. He also defended the decision to ban nursing homes from accepting COVID-19 patients during the worst weeks of the pandemic, saying the state was desperately trying to pull recovering patients out of overcrowded hospitals at the time.

Friday’s letter does not address the status of other Justice Department inquiries about how the Cuomo administration handled data related to COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes.

Federal prosecutors are looking into the governor’s task force on coronavirus and is trying to determine whether the state has deliberately manipulated data on deaths in nursing homes, as previously reported by the Associated Press.

More than 15,800 people have died in nursing homes and nursing homes in New York City. The state’s initial death toll was much lower because it excluded thousands of people who contracted the disease in nursing homes but died in hospitals.


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