Intentional decisions by state governments increased death tally in nursing homes.
Multiple states, including New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania required nursing homes to admit or readmit people who were sick with COVID-19. A lot of articles have appeared describing the impact of these intentional policies.
In case you are like me and have a hard time believing reports that government officials would knowingly implement such policies, a copy of the New York order is provided above.
Just a small selection of the articles appearing of late:
5/13/20 – Newsweek – Pennsylvania Health Secretary moved mother out of nursing home as coronavirus death toll increased in state – The Health Secretary of Pennsylvania, Dr. Rachel Levine relocated her mother out of a care facility as the death tally of senior citizens in care facilities increased.
Pennsylvania is one of the states that ordered care facilities to admit people who were COVID-19 positive and thus contagious.
5/13/20 – Daily Wire – Some States Forced Nursing Homes To Accept Corona virus Patients. Many Died As A Result. This Is A Massive Scandal. – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and California all required that nursing homes take in people who were COVID-19 positive.
A separate article, which I didn’t archive, mentions California reversed the policy after a mere 10 days. The other states continued the policy.
Article mentions the Pennsylvania Health Secretary’s mother was moved out of a facility as the sick arrived due to the Secretary’s order.
Article points out that this is a “macabre” style of insider-trading. Usually insider-trading involves money, but this time it was a matter of life-and-death.
This was and continues to be a deadly policy. One specific illustration is in the next article.
4/25/20 – NBC news – Coronavirus spreads in a New York nursing home forced to take recovering patients – Back on 3/25/20 New York State issued an order prohibiting nursing homes from denying admission to a COVID-19 infected person. The rule applied to readmissions of residents who had gone to the hospital for treatment. Facilities were also prohibited from testing people to see if they were infectious before bringing them into the facility.
Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was one of many facilities required to accept COVID-19 patients, even if contagious.
They had one infected resident at the time people started arriving from hospitals. In 30 days they had:
- 24 dead residents (only three of whom had arrived from hospitals),
- 40 infected residents who were not transferees from hospitals,
- 18 recovered residents, and
- 50 staff members tested positive, of whom half have recovered.
The facility had initially planned to segregate the arriving infected people in a separate area with separate staff. The volume of sick people arriving was so great it rapidly filled up the 40-beds in the separate area so arriving sick people had to be placed in the main facility.
5/14/20 – Wall Street Journal – New York Sent Recovering Coronavirus Patients to Nursing Homes: “It Was a Fatal Error” – Only on 5/9/20 did the state of New York reverse its mandatory policy requiring skilled nursing facilities to accept patients regardless of whether they were infected with COVID-19. Article cited above indicates the nursing homes were not allowed to test patients before admission or readmission.
A drastically rising death count was necessary before the state health experts changed their minds.
The governor, according to the article, said the policy reversal does not indicate there was any mistake in the original requirement. He blamed nursing homes because they should have not been accepting patients they were not capable of caring for. In other words, the increased deaths are their fault because they obeyed a mandatory order.
Article describes objections voiced by industry starting from the day the requirement was announced and continuing through today.
Article also explains the staffing struggles nursing homes were experiencing before the pandemic and the ongoing struggle to get enough PPE, usually without any assistance from the state.