Holding Nursing Home Magnates to Account for Their Flippant Handling of the Covid-19 Pandemic
From our perspective, it is about time that nursing homes in the State of New York are being held to account for their reporting of nursing home deaths. To this point, many have been poorly managed and the oversight of that management has been staggeringly absent. The reason? Well, Governor Cuomo, Tish James and many political candidates in both parties have nursing home owners, their lawyers, their vendors, their advocates all supporting political campaigns. Either that support comes in the form of direct check-writing or through Super PAC’s, courtesy of Citizen’s United. Trying to hold the same people who got you elected accountable for the horrors within their nursing homes is a risky gamble when it comes to a political future.
And then there are the lobbyists. You know. The ones who lobby the government for leeway, some wiggle room. This applies both to standards of healthcare, or rather, standards of moral human decency and financial accounting methods. That accounting is also Medicaid, Medicare and Private Insurance companies who are being defrauded time and time again. Why they have not thrown the breakers on eludes us.
Covid-19 has also added immunity to the opportunism offered by the government, to owners and operators of nursing homes. In the State of New York, there are now “Executive Orders” in place that offer immunity to nursing homes for allowing Covid-19 to run rampant in the earliest stages of the pandemic. And that has been largely expanded. We have grown to affectionately refer to those immunity provisions as the “Granny Killer Immunity Provisions” and we stand by that nickname.
A word to the wise, don’t grow old in New York, or frankly in most states in the United States, lest you want to live out your life wholly without any dignity. You will represent a cash cow for some morally bankruptcy nursing home owner looking to profit from your life and your death, no real preference in that regard. It is far too lucrative a business, both for management and for owners, for them to give a damn about human life. And consider how many attorneys have a greater than 5% ownership, which are the only parties required to report. There is a lawlessness because they are fully aware of every loophole and more than happy to corwl through them. And yes. This comes with a sharpness, one solidified by experience, seeing behind the proverbial curtain into the operations of many of New Jersey’s nursing homes and some in New York, as well.
So, when The New York Post, an anti-Cuomo paper speaks to “Hypocrisy” by the government, finally demanding without flexibility the reporting of nursing homes, they are misguided. The hypocrisy is irrelevant. That Governor Cuomo is trying to withhold his own failings in this regard is irrelevant. What is relevant is that he is finally demanding an accounting from an industry that is wholly lacking (with rare exceptions) a moral compass.
How rich: The state is fining nursing homes for missing deadlines to report data — by as little as a minute — while it has withheld its own figures on nursing-home COVID deaths for months.
As The Post reported last week, nursing homes have been fined $2,000 a day for missing daily deadlines to report data to the Health Department. In a Dec. 21 letter to Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, LeadingAge New York CEO James Clyne Jr. wrote that he “was surprised to learn recently that facilities are being cited for submitting a single survey 1 minute late after 8 months of consistent compliance” with the state’s Health Emergency Response Data System. That system compiles data, including confirmed and presumed deaths from COVID-19 at New York’s 617 nursing homes.
The death tally is officially around 7,400, but the true number could be twice that because New York, unlike other states, doesn’t count nursing-home residents who died in hospitals. The state does keep track of the total, but it won’t
Yet it’s obvious why: Team Cuomo’s March 25 edict forcing nursing homes to take in COVID-positive patients proved deadly, and the governor doesn’t want to take the heat for even more fatalities.
Cuomo quietly rescinded the order May 11 and has never admitted it was a mistake, despite stating he knew the virus would “spread like wildfire” through the vulnerable nursing-home population.See The New York Post, and click here to continue reading.