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

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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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College to begin offering abortion pill on campus

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Barnard College, a partner campus of Columbia University, will be rolling out a plan in May that involves supplying students with abortion pills, the Columbia Spectator reported. The plan to provide the abortion service in the form of mifepristone abortion pills to students was initially announced in the fall of 2022 after the overturning of Roe. V Wade, according to the Spectator. However, the rollout’s delay has been partially attributed to an August 2023 grant the college received, which allowed Barnard to join a large network of primary care providers that will help steer the college through the procedures.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reports Barnard’s Primary Care Health Service will host student focus groups in upcoming weeks to find out student perspectives about the service and to identify new ways to support students considering abortion. “We wanted to make sure that we’re addressing this from every angle that will be supportive of students,” Sarah Ann Anderson-Burnett, director of Medical Services and Quality Improvement of Barnard, told the Spectator. Anderson-Burnett also said it has expanded the availability of its abortion providers to after-hours and year-round.

Barnard has six medical professionals, including two physicians and four nurse practitioners, who are capable of performing the procedure, Mariana Catallozzi, vice president for Health and Wellness and chief health officer of Barnard, told the Spectator. The school also launched a partnership with AccessNurse, a medical call center that will assist with patient concerns related to abortions.

“The training doesn’t end with the clinicians,” Anderson-Burnett told the Spectator. “Clinicians are trained on the actual provision, but there’s also an overall training that will be provided to key partners and stakeholders across the campus because we want every step, every touchpoint, to be supportive and to be trauma-informed and to be patient-valued and centered but also respect confidentiality and privacy.”

The University of Massachusetts Amherst spent more than $650,000 to stock abortion pills in March 2023 at the request of Democratic Maryland Gov. Maura Healey. Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill in May 2023 forcing college in the state to stock abortion pills on campus.

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