A group of Republican members of the House subcommittee on the novel coronavirus crisis sent letters to five Democratic governors requesting answers regarding their directives requiring nursing homes to take in recovering COVID-19 patients that led to thousands of deaths. The group to co-sign onto the letter includes House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, LA, Rep. Jim Jordan, OH, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, MO, Rep. Jackie Walorski, IN, and Rep. Mark Green, TN.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the elderly, especially those living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,” the members wrote in the letters.
“We write seeking information, at a granular level, about the science and information used to inform your decision to mandate nursing homes and long-term care facilities admit untested and contagious COVID-19 patients from hospitals,” the GOP members said. “This decision likely contributed to the thousands of elderly deaths in California. Thank you for your attention and prompt response to this important inquiry.”
In their letter, the members noted that the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) March, 13 guidance “for Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Nursing Homes, adding that CMS Administrator Seema Verma earlier stated that “[u]nder no circumstances should a hospital discharge a patient to a nursing home that is not prepared to take care of those patient’s needs.”
“This guidance is a blueprint for individual states to follow when determining how to best control outbreaks of COVID-19 in nursing homes and long term care facilities. This guidance does not direct any nursing home to accept a COVID-19 positive patient, if they are unable to do so safely,” they wrote.
The GOP members noted that the CMS directive says “’nursing homes should admit any individual that they would normally admit to their facility, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present’ only if the nursing home can follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) quarantining guidance.”
“The decision of several governors to ignore federal protocols and instead mandate COVID positive patients be forced back to their nursing homes ended up being a death sentence for tens of thousands of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. We owe it to those who died and their grieving families to get to the bottom of why these deadly decisions were made by these governors, ensure we stop this from still taking place, and prevent tragedies like these from happening again as we continue to battle this deadly virus,” Rep. Scalise said in a statement to SaraACarter.com.
Individual letters were sent to California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf for each dismissing the directive and mandating that nursing homes take the patients.
“The vast majority of those dying in nursing homes are located in the states that blew off the President’s direction and the CDC’s guidance. The governors of these states must provide details about their decisions to send contagious COVID19 patients into nursing homes. The American people, and their loved ones, deserve answers,” Rep. Green said in a statement to SaraACarter.com.
The Republican subcommittee members asked that the Governors provide the following information “to help us better understand what science or guidance you used to make this lethal decision”:
1. All State issued guidance, directives, advisories, or executive orders regarding hospital discharges to nursing homes or any and all other types of assisted living facilities, including those previously superseded, in chronological order.
2. The total number of COVID-19 related nursing home deaths, including deaths that occurred at the nursing home and deaths of a registered nursing home patient at a hospital, by day between January 1, 2020 and present.
3. The total number of COVID-19 related nursing home positive cases, including individuals who tested positive at a nursing home and individuals that tested positive at a hospital, by day between January 1, 2020 and present.
4. The total number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 positive patients returned to a nursing home or other long-term care facility between March 25, 2020 and present.
5. All information, documents, and communications between the Office of the Governor and the Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding COVID-19 mitigation in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
6. All information, documents, and communications between the Pennsylvania Department of Health and any and all of the State’s Nursing Home Administrators.