Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare
Attorney General James Releases Report on Nursing Homes’ Response to COVID-19 was released in late January 2021. The controversy generated by this report continues to this date.
“Since March (2020), Attorney General James has been investigating nursing homes throughout New York state based on allegations of patient neglect and other concerning conduct that may have jeopardized the health and safety of residents and employees.
Among those findings were that a larger number of nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) published nursing home data reflected and may have been undercounted by as much as 50 percent. The investigations also revealed that nursing homes’ lack of compliance with infection control protocols put residents at increased risk of harm, and facilities that had lower pre-pandemic staffing ratings had higher COVID-19 fatality rates. Based on these findings and subsequent investigation, Attorney General James is conducting ongoing investigations into more than 20 nursing homes whose reported conduct during the first wave of the pandemic presented particular concern.”
The Attorney General’s report also addresses these findings:
- Undercounting of COVID-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes
- Lack of Compliance with Infection Control Policies
- Nursing Home with Low Staffing Ratings Had Higher Fatality Rates
- Immunity Provisions
“This report is the collective product of investigative work undertaken since March 2020 by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s (MFCU) 275 attorneys, forensic auditors, police investigators, medical analysts, data scientists, electronic investigation team, legal assistants, and support staff in eight offices across New York. MFCU is led by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney. MFCU is a part of the Division for Criminal Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice José Maldonado and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.
MFCU receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $60,071,905 for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2019-20, of which $45,053,932 is federally funded. The remaining 25 percent of the approved grant, totaling $15,017,973 for FY 2019-20, is funded by New York state. Through MFCU’s recoveries by means of law enforcement actions and civil enforcement actions, it regularly returns more to the state than it receives in state funding.”
AP: Over 9,000 virus patients sent into NY nursing homes was posted February 11, 2021. These are the closing paragraphs of the AP article:
“That was consistent with an AP report from August that focused on the fact that New York is one of the only states that counts just those who died on nursing home property and not those who died after being transported to hospitals.
Under heavy pressure to change its methodology, New York began issuing reports in recent weeks that added thousands more to its long-term care death toll since March. The new data also confirmed that COVID-19 deaths at some nursing homes are double or more what had been previously reported.
Overall, New York has lost over 45,000 people to the virus, more than every other state except California, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.”