Cuomo defends sending 4,500 coronavirus patients to ‘vulnerable’ nursing homes saying he followed White House policy – The Sun

Cuomo defends sending 4,500 coronavirus patients to ‘vulnerable’ nursing homes saying he followed White House policy – The Sun

May 24, 2020

UNDER-fire New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has deflected slurs over his "dumb" decision to sent thousands of recovering coronavirus patients to nursing homes – by blaming Donald Trump.

He told today's press conference "don’t criticize the state for following the president’s policy" after more than 4,500 patients were ejected to already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial directive.

A defensive Cuomo said: "New York followed the president agency’s guidance. That depoliticizes it.

"What New York did was follow what the Republican administration said to do. That’s not my attempt to politicize it, it’s my attempt to depoliticize it.

"So don’t criticize the state for following the president’s policy."

His top aide, Melissa DeRosa, told reporters: "The policy that the New York Department of Health put out was directly in line with the March 13 directive put out by the CDC and CMS that read, and I quote, 'Nursing Homes should admit any patients from hospitals where COVID is present'.

"Not could, should.

"This is President Trump’s CMS and CDC.”

Cuomo's order to send 4,500 coronavirus patients to nursing homes has been slammed as the "dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people."

The move was made despite Cuomo initially describing the homes as a "feeding frenzy for this virus."

"It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people," Daniel Arbeeny told the Associated Press about the directive, which prompted him to pull his 88-year-old father out of a Brooklyn nursing home where more than 50 people have died.

His father later died of COVID-19 at home.

"This isn't rocket science," Arbeeny said. "We knew the most vulnerable — the elderly and compromised — are in nursing homes and rehab centers."

Cuomo reversed the directive on May 10, which had been intended to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients as cases soared.

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 did not 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.

Over a month later, on April 29, the Health Department clarified that homes should not take any new residents if they were unable to meet their needs, including a checklist of standards for coronavirus care and prevention.

In the meantime, some nursing homes felt obligated and overwhelmed.

Gurwin Jewish, a 460-bed home on Long Island, seemed well-prepared for the coronavirus in early March, with movable walls to seal off hallways for the infected.

But after the state order, a trickle of recovering COVID-19 patients from local hospitals turned into a flood of 58 people.

More walls were put up, but other residents began falling sick and dying.

In the end, 47 Gurwin residents died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

"The state order put staff and residents at great risk," CEO Stuart Almer said.

"We can't draw a straight line from bringing in someone positive to someone catching the disease, but were talking about elderly, fragile and vulnerable residents."

The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, known as AMDA, had warned from the beginning that Cuomo's order admitting infected patients posed a clear and present danger to nursing home residents.

Now, Jeffrey N. Nichols, who serves on the executive committee of the group, said the effect of that order was to contribute to 5,000 deaths.

Nationally, over 35,500 people have died from coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, which is about a third of the country's overall death toll.

Cuomo has deflected criticism over the nursing home directive by saying it stemmed from Trump administration guidance.

Still, few states went as far as New York and neighboring New Jersey, which has the second-most care home deaths, in discharging hospitalized coronavirus patients to nursing homes.

California followed suit but loosened its requirement following intense criticism.

Some states went in the opposite direction. Louisiana barred hospitals for 30 days from sending coronavirus patients to nursing homes with some exceptions.

And while Louisiana reported about 1,000 coronavirus-related nursing home deaths, far fewer than New York, that was 40 percent of Louisiana's statewide death toll, a higher proportion than in New York.

New York's Health Department told AP on May 8 that it was not tracking how many recovering COVID-19 patients were taken into nursing homes under the order.

But it was at that very moment surveying administrators of the states over 1,150 nursing homes and long-term care facilities on just that question.

Those survey results have yet to be released.

The Health Department said the survey had no bearing on Cuomo's announcement May 10 that were just not going to send a person who is positive to a nursing home after a hospital visit.

Two months of coronavirus quarantine received an unexpected reprieve when the governor eased the state’s ban on gatherings in time for the Memorial Day weekend

The number of hospitalized patients also continued to fall, dropping to over 4,600.

Source: Read Full Article