The Center Square) – Four Democratic governors, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, received letters Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Justice requesting data on the impact COVID-19 has had on public nursing homes in their states.
The letters, which were also sent to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, say the department’s Civil Rights Division is considering whether to conduct an investigation on nursing homes operated by the state or a local government.
“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations,” Eric Dreiband, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”
In making those determinations, the DOJ is asking the states for the number of people those nursing homes admitted from a hospital or other medical facility after testing positive for COVID-19. Federal authorities also want to know how many residents, employees and visitors of public nursing homes who came down with the virus, regardless of where they contracted the virus, and they also want to know how many of those individuals died, including those who died in the facility after being transferred.
They also seek the guidelines the states gave the nursing homes on admitting residents, including those that have been pulled, and how long those mandates were in place.