Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office has announced a follow-up review of the state Department of Health’s management of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The move comes three years after a controversial order that prohibited nursing homes from turning away COVID-19 positive patients at the start of the pandemic.
A previous review by DiNapoli’s office had revealed that New York officials had undercounted the number of nursing home residents who died in the first few months of the pandemic, a finding that was corroborated by an investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James.
DiNapoli stated that families in New York had suffered during the pandemic, particularly those who had lost loved ones in nursing homes. He said that his office’s audit had uncovered the extent to which residents were not adequately protected and that the follow-up review would assess whether critical changes had been made.
Earlier reviews by DiNapoli’s office had found that health officials were not adequately prepared to handle the outbreak of infectious diseases at long-term care facilities. The follow-up review will examine whether changes recommended by DiNapoli’s office have been implemented.
New York State lawmakers are considering additional funding for the state’s nursing home program, which provides oversight visits to long-term care facilities. They have also called for higher reimbursement rates from the Medicaid program to help financially struggling nursing homes.
The administration of Governor Kathy Hochul has previously announced plans to conduct a comprehensive review of pandemic-era policies, including the treatment of nursing homes.
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