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Attorney General Says NY Nursing Home Deaths Undercounted by as Much as 50%

Attorney General Says NY Nursing Home Deaths Undercounted by as Much as 50%It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has taken an enormous toll on nursing homes throughout the country, claiming the lives of nearly 126,000 residents and staff across 4,100 facilities and accounting for close to 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Because the virus is particularly lethal to the elderly and those with underlying conditions, nursing home residents are an expectedly vulnerable population. However, the devastation these residents have experienced may have been partially preventable, according to a report released by a New York Attorney General in late January.

According to a Newsday article that outlines the report, the state may have undercounted nursing home COVID-19 deaths by as much as 50%, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s March directive to admit coronavirus patients to nursing homes may have put residents at an increased risk of harm. Likewise, the report indicates that staff shortages and improper conditions within these homes may also have been a contributing factor.

Have COVID-Related Nursing Home Deaths Been Underreported?

In March 2020, the Cuomo Administration issued a controversial order that required hospitalized nursing home residents who were COVID-positive to return to their respective nursing homes. A number of opposed parties argued that this move led to the subsequent rising death toll. In addition, the report contends, the numbers that Cuomo and his administration provided were significantly lower than what the attorney general’s team found. For example, of 62 nursing homes that reported deaths, the attorney general’s investigation counted 1,914 COVID-related deaths while the State Department of Health counted 1,229 deaths. 

The Newsday article, likewise, offers this interpretation of the report as it pertains to possible nursing home negligence and malpractice:

“…the state’s decision to give nursing homes and hospitals immunity from all but the most egregious malpractice may have been interpreted by nursing homes as allowing them to make ‘intentional resource or staffing allocations’ to cut costs that weren’t in the best interests of residents’ care.”

In a response to the report, state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker contended that it was partially inaccurate and that nursing homes also provided imprecise and conflicting data. Zucker attributed the difference in numbers to errors in counting and reporting made by nursing homes.

Call an Expert Nursing Home Coronavirus Exposure Lawyer in New York City

If you believe that a member of your family is caught up in a harmful or neglectful situation as a result of unlawful actions by the staff or administrators, contact the trusted attorneys at Dalli & Marino. During this critical time, nursing homes must take every precaution to protect their residents and front-line employees from being exposed to or contracting COVID-19. Many nursing homes have protected their residents by following guidelines and adhering to strict protocols, but other facilities have neglected the wellbeing of the most vulnerable among us.

If you suspect a loved one has suffered neglect during the coronavirus pandemic, the attorneys at Dalli & Marino are here to help. Our seasoned New York trial attorneys have been aggressively advocating for victims of nursing abuse since 1996. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients through trust and communication to ensure that we fully understand your needs. Our highly skilled team approaches each case on an individual basis and is dedicated to helping you recover the money you deserve to compensate you for your loss. Give us a call at (888) 465-8790 or complete our contact form today.


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