In the wake of Attorney General Letitia James’s (D-NY) disturbing report on the underreporting of nursing home deaths, Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt (R,C,I-North Tonawanda) and members of the Senate Republican Conference called on New York’s Congressional Delegation to immediately obtain an update from the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice on its inquiry into New York State’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in our nursing homes.
This request to the Congressional Delegation follows Leader Ortt’s and the Senate Republicans’ call for the resignation of NYS Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, as well as a full investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D-NY) handling of COVID-19 in the state’s nursing homes. Governor Cuomo and his administration have refused to be transparent and failed to take responsibility for the negative consequences of their actions during this public health crisis, especially the deadly March 25, 2020 order to send COVID-positive patients into nursing homes.
Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt said, “For months, Senate Republicans have been calling on Governor Cuomo and the Department of Health to be open and transparent and provide this crucial information. The AG’s bombshell report is just the tip of the iceberg and New Yorkers deserve nothing more than a full, independent investigation of this administration. This should not be a partisan issue, but since our [Democratic] colleagues in the Legislature continue to balk at using their subpoena power, we must turn to our federal representatives to help us hold this administration accountable.”
“The Attorney General’s report illustrates a lack of transparency by the Department of Health and raises more questions about the [Cuomo] administration’s actions in relation to pandemic-related policies in nursing homes. We need to ensure that the Department of Health is providing accurate and timely information and is held accountable for its actions. Many of the policies and procedures put in place at nursing homes have jeopardized the lives, health and safety of our most vulnerable residents and caused undue pain and suffering for their families. A DOJ investigation is warranted,” said Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R,C,I-Elma), ranking member of the Health Committee.