ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The fallout from the New York Attorney General’s report finding the state may have “undercounted” nursing home resident COVID-19 deaths by 50 percent continues. And Republican lawmakers are putting pressure on Democrats to get tougher with the New York State Department of Health.
“We’ve had a subpoena drafted, and if any of my colleagues in the Senate Majority are really serious about issuing a subpoena and launching a thorough investigation, all they have to do is sign and send it,” said Republican State Senator Sue Serino.
New York State Senate Majority Communications Director Mike Murphy said in a statement:
“This is nothing but a cheap political stunt. When the GOP were in power, they failed to issue one single subpoena over the course of an entire decade. Now is the time for real leadership not grandstanding. We’ve received the full nursing home numbers only after our own Democratic Senators stood up to the Governor and threatened a subpoena nine days ago and the Attorney General issued her report. We will continue to lead and use all tools at our disposal to get all information related to these important issues.”
Republican Assemblyman Kevin Byrne says his conference is calling for additional hearings for the purpose of subpoenaing information from the Department of Health. They want Commissioner Howard Zucker to testify and provide all data on nursing home deaths, communications regarding the March order requiring nursing homes to re-admit COVID positive patients, and the withholding of data from the public.
“That is, at least, what we put in writing as a petition to our colleagues in the pertinent committees,” Byrne said.
Meanwhile, a judge has sided with Republican Senator Jim Tedisco and the Empire Center for Public Policy against the New York State Department of Health over a Freedom of Information Lawsuit on the nursing home data. She has ordered that the Department of Health must release the requested data within five business days.
Spokesperson Gary Holmes with the Department of Health says, “With the preliminary audit complete, we were already in the process of responding to their FOIL request, and updating DOH’s website with publicly available information.”