ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration are being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This comes after almost a year of criticism about how they dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic at nursing homes.
NEWS10 details the timeline of events and what lead up to the investigation below.
Events leading up to investigations
NEWS10 has outlined the events leading up to the most recent investigations into Governor Cuomo and the handling of nursing homes in New York. Below is a quick timeline of the events.
- March 25: DOH issues directive on nursing homes
- May 10: DOH reverses directive on returning patients to homes
- Aug. 3: First legislative hearing on nursing home deaths
- Aug. 26: DOJ requests information on deaths in public nursing homes
- Oct. 28: DOJ expands request to private nursing homes
As many as 50% of COVID-related nursing home resident deaths were “undercounted” by the DOH, according to a report released by the Attorney General (AG) in late January. The issue surrounds the death of in-house residents versus those that died in the hospital.
The report said this discrepancy in reported deaths misrepresented the actual number of nursing home residents that died from COVID-19. The report also said that requiring nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients could have put residents at a greater risk.
In July the DOH released its own report that contradicted the AG’s report. They concluded that COVID-19 was most likely to have been brought into nursing homes by staff and visitors before visitations were restricted. DOH said the data did not support the idea that the virus entered nursing homes through direct hospital admissions because it was already there.
Without proper testing, nursing home residents were sent from hospitals to facilities which contributed to the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged in August. New York along with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan was sent requests from the DOJ for information pertaining to nursing facility resident COVID-related deaths.
DOJ expanded their request to include private nursing homes in October. They asked for a breakdown of COVID-related hospital deaths that had been gathered since April. The request included more than 600 nursing facilities, according to the Associated Press.
Governor Cuomo announced visitation would resume in nursing homes. He said the DOH recommended resuming visitation and would be putting out guidance for nursing facilities but did not say when at a press conference Friday, February 19.
He also announced sweeping legislation for nursing facilities as part of the 30-day amendments to the Executive Budget on Feb. 19. The legislation is centered around increased transparency, holding operators accountable for misconduct, and prioritizing patient care over profit.
- Political fallout continues for Cuomo after report of threat
- Pressure mounts on Cuomo over COVID deaths at nursing homes
- Lawmakers weigh in on nursing home data investigation
- North Country political expert weighs in on Cuomo investigation
- Caregivers and nursing home residents hope for answers following news of probe
- NYS Assemblyman Ron Kim and Gov. Cuomo in war of words
- Democrat Kim says Cuomo is smearing him to distract critics
- GOP wants Schumer to support DOJ investigation into Cuomo
- What does investigation into state’s nursing home reports mean for families?
A new poll released on February 24 shows 27% of New Yorkers think Governor Cuomo did nothing wrong in how he handled nursing homes. But 19% think he broke the law. The poll was conducted by Marist. It gives the governor a 48% approval rating among registered voters.
On February 25, former Secretary to the Governor Steven Cohen defending the Cuomo Administration’s handling of nursing homes and the DOJ investigation.
NEWS10 investigated how the state Department of Health received information on coronavirus cases and deaths to see how there could potentially be a discrepancy in the numbers.
NEWS10 will continue to follow developments in this investigation. Check back for future updates.