Andrew Cuomo To Testify Before Congress On COVID Nursing Home Scandal

(Photo via Reuters/Caitlin Ochs)

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Nick Pope Contributor
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Former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will testify before Congress about his 2020 decision to make nursing homes and adult care facilities accept patients from hospitals who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Cuomo, who resigned from office after a sexual harassment scandal in 2021, issued an order in March 2020 that prevented nursing homes from rejecting individuals solely because they had been diagnosed with coronavirus. The Daily Caller News Foundation first reported in May 2020 that Cuomo’s administration knowingly undercounted COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by changing its classification system. Lawmakers sitting on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic will get a chance to ask Cuomo about the subject on June 11.

“Governor Cuomo will be appearing before our select Subcommittee on the Pandemic on June 11,” Republican Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who chairs the coronavirus subcommittee, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on the reporter’s television program on Friday.  “This will be a transcribed interview at 10 a.m.”

“I’m trying to learn why he would do something like this,” Wenstrup added. “As a doctor who has treated infections, it goes against all medical common sense to take someone who was highly contagious and put them amongst the most vulnerable.” (RELATED: Gov Cuomo Calls Criticisms Of NY’s Nursing Home Deaths ‘Political’ As Damaging Reports Stack Up)

In March 2020, Cuomo ordered that “no resident shall be denied readmission or admission to the [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.” Cuomo reversed course in May 2020 and rescinded the policy amid mounting criticisms.

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) quietly changed the way it counted and classified coronavirus deaths in nursing homes in early May 2020, effectively counting only those deaths that occurred inside a nursing home facility, as the DCNF previously reported. Under the adjusted counting system, nursing home residents who died of coronavirus in hospitals, for example, were not counted as nursing home deaths.

In 2021, Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James concluded that NYSDOH had undercounted nursing home coronavirus deaths by nearly 50% thanks to the changes in how the state classified the mortalities. New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, also a Democrat, found in a 2022 audit that the agency undercounted by at least 4,100 deaths between April 2020 and February 2021.

The coronavirus subcommittee began efforts to contact Cuomo about nine months ago, according to CNN, and Weinstrup told Tapper that he and his colleagues were “ignored on many of our requests, there were delays.” Cuomo apparently did not finalize a date to testify to the coronavirus subcommittee until Wednesday, the coronavirus subcommittee told CNN.

However, Rich Azzopardi, a Cuomo spokesperson, had a different assessment.

“There’s no news here, we agreed to do this months ago. This is pure politics and the simple fact remains that this issue has been reviewed three times by the Department of Justice under Trump and Biden, as well as Congress and the Manhattan District Attorney who found no ‘there’ there,” Azzopardi told the DCNF over email. “Any real review would focus on the 10 other states with similar policies, red and blue alike.”

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