Following DOH report on COVID-19 in nursing homes, Republicans renew calls for independent investigation

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York Republicans continue to push for an independent investigation into coronavirus infections and deaths in nursing homes following Monday’s state Department of Health report

The report found that a March order requiring nursing homes to re-admit COVID-19 positive patients was not the “driving factor” in nursing home deaths. But many Republicans said the issue needs to be looked into by outside sources. 

In a statement Senator Jim Tedisco said:

“I appreciate the work of the state Health Commissioner, who is appointed by the Governor, but this report should not be the final word on this subject…”

NY SEN. JIM TEDISCO

A summary of findings from the Department of Health found that “employee infections were related to the larger community spread” and that “employee transmission has the strongest correlation to nursing home fatalities.”

There have been more than 6,400-COVID related nursing home deaths in the state. 

“Clearly, the Department of Health, I’m not questioning their motives, but it’s a little bit of a conflict to have the agency that reports to the Governor do the internal investigation on this,” said NYS Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay.

Barclay said he’d like to see legislative hearings as a first step. He said there’s also no reason there couldn’t be an independent investigation through the Justice Department or through Congress.

“We owe it to the families, and obviously the people who have passed, and obviously the nursing homes to find out what happened. And, two, if corona rears its ugly head again in New York State, we don’t want to make the same mistakes that we made, obviously, this past spring,” Barclay said.

In an email Tuesday morning, the Department of Health said, “independent reviewers support the findings of a New York State Department of Health analysis of infections and fatalities in nursing homes, released Monday, which found COVID-19 fatalities in nursing homes were related to infected nursing home staff.”

Some of those reviewers include Kenneth Raske, the President of the Greater New York Hospital Association and Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling. 

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