Bipartisan legislation to investigate the impact of the ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo’s pandemic policies on the death toll in nursing homes from COVID-19 are bottled up in committee so that key lawmakers are not embroiled in the scandal, the measures’ sponsors told the Post on Monday.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that they want to delay this,” said Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Schenectady).
“I think it affects them. And that touches on what they have done so far.
Tedisco noted that Democrats who control both houses of the Legislative Assembly “have never used a single subpoena in a hearing” and allowed former health commissioner Howard Zucker to “dance the whole the day” when asked about the state’s cover-up of nursing home deaths. .
Tedisco also suggested delaying his bill was an attempt to cover Cuomo, who resigned under threat of impeachment last year over sexual harassment allegations.
“They wanted to get rid of him because he was a disability, but I’m not sure they also wanted to let everyone know the extent of the things he was involved in that caused this loss of life. – the lies, the distortions”, he said.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), who is sponsoring a companion bill, said senior Democrats “have just come up with excuse after excuse.”
“At different times they’re giving me excuses about ‘Oh, there are federal investigations, we can’t open this until the federal investigation is complete. “”
But Kim, whose uncle died in a nursing home on suspicion of COVID-19, said he remained hopeful the measures would be approved before the scheduled June 2 end of the legislative session.
“It’s not a big request. We’re just asking to go back and investigate,” he said.
The plan would create a five-member commission with subpoena power and an expansive mandate to investigate matters that include “any increases in nursing home resident death rates attributable to COVID-19.”
The blue ribbon panel “in health care and/or health policy” is also expected to report within a year of its first meeting.
Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean, whose in-laws both died of COVID-19 in nursing homes, said: ‘When a hurricane or blizzard hits New York, there’s always scrutiny. after action taken to try to learn from what happened. .”
“Why don’t we do the same for the over 15,000 elderly people who have been taken from us? she says.
“If lawmakers don’t look carefully at what happened and why our leaders have tried so hard to cover it up, they will all have blood on their hands.”
Critics have accused Cuomo’s administration of fueling the nursing home death toll by initially forcing facilities to accept “medically stable” COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals.
In March, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli also said an audit found the Department of Health had intentionally “misled the public” by omitting at least 4,100 hospital deaths from its tally of deaths. deaths in nursing homes.
As of April 30, the official death toll from COVID-19 among nursing home residents was 15,438, according to the DOH.
A spokesman for state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said Tedisco’s bill “has been passed” from the health committee to the health committee. finances last week “and we continue to discuss”.
A representative for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) did not return a request for comment.
But a spokesperson said Governor Kathy Hochul “has put in place several critical policies to protect nursing home residents from COVID-19, including increasing access to callbacks, bolstering staff with a guard national medically trained, requiring high-quality masks and testing for visitors and providing access to [personal protective equipment].”
“Under the governor’s leadership, our administration has explored a pandemic response review, and we will continue to work with the legislature and advocates on these priorities,” spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays added.
Of the legislation, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said, “The most dangerous place in America is between Jim Tedisco and a microphone. All politics, no shame. “