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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Cuomo Says Nursing Homes Accepted Coronavirus Patients For the Money and Tries To Exonerate Himself in the Nursing Home Scandal

I love New York City.

Aside from five years living in Cairo Egypt and a couple of years in Bologna Italy, London England, Washington D.C. and Canada, NYC has been my home.

But there are people in politics here who are simply, in my opinion, out of line. One most certainly is Governor Andrew Cuomo and another is NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Their actions on the coronavirus and the deaths from this virus are reprehensible. The dead are treated like trash.

This nursing home disaster is on you, Gov. Cuomo: Goodwin
Michael Goodwin, NY POST, May 5, 2020
There must be a better way.

A tearful Tamisha Covington looks for answers on the whereabouts of the body of
her beloved mother, Deborah Harris.

Paul Martinka
By Georgett Roberts and Bruce Golding, NY POST, April 30, 2020

Grieving families outraged over NYC funeral home body-storage scandal

Betsy Combier,
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

Coronavirus: New York funeral home puts corpses in lorries

BBC, April 30, 2020
Dozens of bodies have been found stored in moving lorries in New York, authorities say, after passersby complained of the smell.
The Andrew T Cleckley Funeral Home in Brooklyn had rented trucks and put about 50 corpses inside with ice.
One official quoted anonymously in the New York Times said the home's freezer had stopped working.
Police were called to the scene and sealed off the area. A refrigerated truck later arrived.
Workers in protective suits were later seen moving bodies.
It is unclear if these were victims of the coronavirus. But officials and funeral homes have struggled to cope with the huge numbers of dead in New York, the worst-affected state in the US.

More than 18,000 people have died in New York City alone, according to Johns Hopkins University data. As a whole, the US has more than one million confirmed cases of coronavirus, more than any other country.
"They had dead bodies in the vans and trucks," the owner of the building next door told the New York Times. "They were on top of each other in body bags... all of [the vehicles] were packed."
Eric Adams, the Borough President of Brooklyn, went to the scene after the funeral home complaint emerged.
"While this situation is under investigation, we should not have what we have right now, with trucks lining the streets filled with bodies," he later told the New York Daily News.
Mr. Adams said they were alerted by "people who walked by who saw some leakage and detected an odor coming from a truck."
By law, funeral directors must keep bodies in safe conditions that prevent infection before they are buried or cremated. The home has since been cited by health officials.
Mourners had gathered in large numbers to mourn the passing of a rabbi in Williamsburg.
"If in my passion and in my emotion I said something that was hurtful, I'm sorry about that," Mr de Blasio said.
"I have no regrets about calling out this danger and saying we're going to deal with it very, very aggressively."
From Betsy Combier:
By Bernadette Hogan, Carl Campanile and Bruce Golding, NY POST, April 22, 2020
Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted that “it’s not our job” to provide coronavirus-ravaged nursing homes with personal protective equipment — even as more than 3,000 patients have lost their lives in facilities ordered by his administration to take in COVID-19 patients.
“We have been helping them with more PPE but, again, it’s not our job,” Cuomo said Wednesday during his daily briefing in Albany.
Pressed on why coronavirus patients were not kept out of the facilities, which treat the elderly and other vulnerable populations, Cuomo insisted that the state-regulated, but did not “run,” New York’s privately owned nursing homes.
“You’ll be out of business if you’re not providing your staff with the right equipment. You’re out of business. That we can do,” he said of state regulations.
Nursing homes, Cuomo said, “have to do the job they’re getting paid to do, and if they’re not doing the job they’re getting paid to do, and they’re violating state regulations, then that’s a different issue — then they should lose their license.”
But Cuomo’s insistence that his Health Department adequately regulates nursing homes was immediately contradicted by his own blunt assessment that “if somebody says to me, ‘Should I put my mother in a nursing home now?’ Now is not the best time to put your mother in a nursing home.”
As of Tuesday, COVID-19 had killed at least 3,505 residents of New York state nursing homes and adult care facilities — almost one-quarter of the state’s death toll of 15,302, according to Health Department data. And officials have warned that tally of nursing home fatalities is likely an undercount.
Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill Health Center has reported the most deaths from the pandemic of any nursing home in the state with 55 fatalities, according to the statistics.
Cuomo’s “not our job” remark came little more than a month after he told lawmakers to “Do your job” and show up in Albany for budget negotiations.
And it followed weeks of statements from Cuomo about the importance of protecting older people and those with compromised immune systems from the pandemic.
“Those are the people who are going to be vulnerable to the mortality of this disease,” Cuomo said on March 24. “It’s lives, it’s grandmothers and grandfathers and sisters and brothers.”
Cuomo’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, on Wednesday defended the state’s policy of requiring nursing homes to re-admit residents who’ve tested positive for the coronavirus — and also not deny admission to new residents with the disease.
“We are working very closely with the leadership of the nursing homes, both to get more staff to help them out [and] obviously, the supplies, we’ve been working very hard on that,” Zucker said.
The head of the state’s nursing-home industry group, Stephen Hanse, blamed the admission policy for bringing the coronavirus into some homes — where the governor has acknowledged that it spreads “like fire in dry grass.”
“This prevented them from safeguarding their residents and staff,” said Hanse, CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association.
Hanse added that shortages of protective masks, gloves and gowns were helping fuel the crisis.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) said he found Cuomo’s comments “infuriating.”
“The buck stops with him. But he’s saying the buck doesn’t stop with him,” Kim said.
“We gave him the authority to save lives and he’s not.”
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams accused Cuomo of “unacceptable lapses in leadership” after assuming “unprecedented power to address this public health crisis, causing him to enjoy an 87 percent approval rating and national fame.”

“Instead of accountability for errors, so we can learn and move forward, he instead says protecting the people who he knows are most vulnerable — who are losing their lives in unsafe conditions — is not his job,” Williams said.
Marie Marsala, whose 54-year-old daughter has multiple sclerosis and lives in a Long Island nursing home, said she was “very angry” at Cuomo.
“It’s his job to protect the people who are compromised,” said Marsala, 78, of Smithtown.
“He governs all of us, so he has to govern according to the needs of the people — and the people in the nursing homes need to be treated in a way that they’re not put in jeopardy.”
State officials wouldn’t detail how much protective gear they’ve given nursing homes, but City Hall said it is boosting its weekly deliveries to both public and private facilities by 50 percent.
Last week’s shipment included 40,000 N95 face masks, 800,000 surgical masks, 1.5 million disposable gloves and 105,000 gowns and coveralls, mayoral spokeswoman Avery Cohen said.
The city has also deployed 210 clinical staffers to various nursing homes and plans to at least double that number, Cohen said.
During Wednesday’s online meeting of the City Council, Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) said he favored having “other places for isolation outside of the nursing home setting” for residents with the coronavirus, to prevent the introduction of the deadly disease “if it is not already there.”
“So we need to set up dormitories or hotels that could just be for people who were in nursing homes where we could still provide the medical services and attention that would be needed,” he said.
City Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) demanded that surplus hospital beds be used to help alleviate the crisis.
“Saying you have these empty beds that everyone keeps talking about and meanwhile have nursing home residents who are dying, getting sick and severe staff shortage inside many nursing homes,” he asked. “Why not transport sick nursing home residents there?
Additional reporting by Gabrielle Fonrouge, Julia Marsh and Rich Calder

Coronavirus patients are being readmitted to nursing homes in New York after testing positive despite risks of spreading infection – and Governor Cuomo didn’t know

National Public Voice April 21, 2020

New York State Outrage: Governor Andrew Cuomo Did Not Know His State's Nursing Home Policy

How USNS Comfort went from a symbol of hope with the president's blessing to heading back from NYC having treated fewer than 180 patients
by Ashley Collman, New York Times Business InsiderApril 23, 2020

The fix is obviously in on Cuomo’s ‘investigation’ of nursing-home horrors

New York refused to send nursing homes COVID-19 patients to nearly empty USNS Comfort

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's COVID-19 Nursing Home Scandal

Andrew Cuomo Blames Nursing Homes’ Greed for Not Rejecting Coronavirus Patients State Made Them Accept
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested Monday that “money” was partly to blame for nursing homes failing to turn away coronavirus patients that they could not care for — after a state directive requiring them to take those patients.
Cuomo has come under increasing criticism for a March 25 directive requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients. The directive read, in part (original emphasis): “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
The policy is being scrutinized more closely as some 25% of the state’s fatalities from coronavirus have occurred in nursing homes.
ritics argue that the state should not have put coronavirus patients in facilities housing the elderly, who are the most vulnerable to the illness. New Jersey and California have similar policies.
Cuomo has insisted that it is the nursing homes’ responsibility to refer patients to the state department of health, or to other facilities if they cannot care for those patients.
He reiterated that argument on Monday, and also took issue with a story in the New York Post about a nursing home in Brooklyn, the Cobble Hill Health Center, which told the state in early April that it could not handle coronavirus patients, but was refused permission to transfer them to facilities at the Jacob Javits Center or the USNS Comfort, both set up by the federal government.
The Post reported:
The CEO of a hard-hit Brooklyn nursing home, where 55 patients have died from the coronavirus, told The Post last week that he’d been warning state Health Department officials for weeks he had staffing and equipment issues — yet received little help.
“There is no way for us to prevent the spread under these conditions,’’ the head of the Cobble Hill Health Center, Donny Tuchman, wrote in an e-mail to the department on April 8.
He said he asked to move some patients to the makeshift wards at Manhattan’s Javits Center and aboard the city-docked USNS Comfort amid the pandemic, only to be told those two spots were receiving only patients from hospitals.
“I made specific requests to transfer patients, and it didn’t happen,’’ Tuchman told The Post. “There weren’t options.”
Gov. Cuomo called the story “a bit misleading,” saying: “The Comfort is a federal facility, it doesn’t take transfers from nursing homes, it only takes transfers from hospitals. That’s why the Comfort wouldn’t take a transfer from a nursing home. Because the specific protocol on that specific ship said that people have to come from a hospital.”
He added: “You can’t refer from the nursing home to the Comfort. You can’t refer to a nursing home to the Marriott Hotel, you can’t refer to the Hilton. Yeah, I know. But that nursing home can call any other facility, or can call the Department of Health, and the Department of Health will take that person and find a facility.”
Cuomo added: “Who cares about just that ship, if the point is that nursing home should have referred that patient, and should have told the Department of Health, ‘I can’t handle these patients.'”
He added that nursing homes knew they could lose “money” if they rejected patients, so they had an incentive to take coronavirus patients even if they could not care for them without endangering other patients.
“Whatever reason they want, they call the Department of Health, and say, ‘You take Bernadette. I can’t handle her. And the Department of Health takes [her]. Now, when the Department of Health takes Bernadette, they no longer get paid for Bernadette. Oh! Money.”
Cuomo said that nursing homes were allowed to transfer coronavirus patients back to hospitals if they themselves could not care for them, but he claimed that there were no cases in which nursing homes had done so.
Asked whether nursing homes feared scrutiny from state regulators if they rejected coronavirus patients, Cuomo said that the reality was contrary: that nursing homes that could not provide adequate care faced “scrutiny if they don’t do that.”
The governor was later asked whether he was saying that nursing homes cared for profits more than for patients’ welfare.
“No. Not at all,” Cuomo said.
He also said that the state had several COVID-only facilities that were available as alternatives.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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