The Department of Justice sent letters to the governors of New York, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania seeking data on whether they violated federal law in requiring nursing homes to accept COVID patients from hospitals.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said their offices were reviewing the request. Spokespeople for both Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the fact that all the states are led by Democrats and the timing of the move — in the midst of the Republican National Convention — spoke volumes about the political nature of the inquiry.
The governors’ actions at the height of the pandemic were designed to ensure hospitals had enough bed space for the most serious COVID cases, but were almost immediately criticized by nursing homes and relatives for potentially putting frail, elderly care home residents at risk.
Cuomo maintains that they and others were following CDC federal guidelines.
A March 13 memo from the Centers for Disease Control reads, “A nursing home can accept a resident diagnosed with COVID-19 and still under Transmission Precautions for COVID19 as long as the facility can follow CDC guidance for Transmission-Based Precautions.”