Health officials in New York drastically underreported nursing home deaths by as much as 50% across some areas in the state.
This information came out in a report released by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The report’s release came after the start of an ongoing investigation by James’ office into claims of neglect leading to the deaths of nursing home residents and employees.
One nursing home facility had reported 11 deaths, whereas James’ investigation found that 40 of its residents had been killed by COVID-19.
In a news release following the report’s reveal, the Attorney General said “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. 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.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has received criticism about his decision to send recovering nursing home patients to nursing homes in an attempt to free up hospital bed space. A policy that James said may have led to more deaths. However, the Cuomo administration has frequently denied the idea.
James’ report stated, “Government guidance requiring the admission of COVID-19 patients into nursing homes may have put residents at increased risk of harm in some facilities and may have obscured the data available to assess that risk.”