Scalise Asks Dems To Hold Governors Accountable Who Sent COVID Patients To Nursing Homes

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, is putting governors on notice who ordered nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients knowing they were most vulnerable to it leading to thousands of avoidable deaths.

Scalise, who is the Ranking Member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, opened the subcommittee’s briefing Thursday by demanding that the governors who implemented the deadly policy be held accountable. Moreover, he’s sending a letter requesting answers from state leaders.

“The decision of several governors to essentially mandate COVID-positive patients go back to their nursing homes ended up being a death sentence, Scalise said. “New York has suffered 6,318 deaths in nursing homes. New Jersey – 6,327. Compare that to Florida – a retirement state – 1,454. On a per-capita basis, nursing home deaths in New York are 500 percent higher than Florida and New Jersey is 1,120 percent higher than Florida.”

“Other states, like Michigan, California, and Pennsylvania that forced COVID-positive patients back to nursing homes have similar, tragic disparities.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the original guidance for nursing homes on February, 6. The first nursing home outbreak, however, was after the CMS had issued that warning. From there, states continued to ignore CMS’s orders throughout the months of March and April.

Scalise added, “But unfortunately, on March 25th, Governor Cuomo’s health department issued a directive in contradiction to CMS guidance by mandating nursing homes to take COVID-19 positive patients.  New Jersey essentially copied New York’s order – also with deadly results. Two weeks earlier, Governor DeSantis of Florida prohibited transferring COVID-19 positive patients from hospitals to nursing homes. Very different orders yielded very different results.”

“On March 18th, Pennsylvania also issued guidance mandating nursing homes continue to accept new admissions and readmissions including patients that have COVID-19. While defending this decision, Pennsylvania’s own Health Secretary moved her mother out of a nursing home,” Scalise said.

“On April 15th, the Governor of Michigan issued a similar Executive Order mandating nursing homes accept patients regardless of COVID-19 status. Michigan State Democratic Representative Leslie Love criticized the Governor’s reckless order calling it ‘an epic fail.’  Mr. Chairman, shockingly, that order remains in effect today. I call on Governor Whitmer to rescind this order immediately and I hope my colleagues will join me in standing up for the patients and families in Michigan.”

Scalise is also asking his fellow subcommittee members to sign onto his letter to the governors.

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