Nursing homes are being linked with the contagious COVID-19 virus more than ever it seems, at least in the State of New York. That’s because a strategy executed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo may have just backfired. On March 25th, the Governor, along with his health commissioner Howard Zucker, gave an order for all patients who have had gone to the hospital for the virus to be returned back to their nursing home, should their physical condition allow it. The administration laid out no alternative plan nor any freedom of choice for nursing homes to prevent sick patients from coming in. In fact, just the opposite.
Zucker and Cuomo made these discharges back to nursing homes mandatory. That means any patient who has been diagnosed with the virus, not only can, but has to return to their original caretaking place, and nursing homes have little to no say. What is even worse is the prohibition of allowing caretakers to test their returning patients for the virus. Currently, New York is the only state in the country that bars nursing homes to test returning or new-coming patients.
This is causing a second epidemic in nursing homes across the state. Not only are patients getting sick but so are their caretakers and the communities around them. So far, it has killed 6,000 patients, 6% of New York’s 100,000 nursing homes. Slowly, patients, and their family members alike are opening up to the idea of seeking legal compensation for poor judgement coming from the state capital. Nursing Home Accident Attorneys are preparing for a lot of these potential cases that will eventually hold many decision-makers responsible, the state itself included.
States who followed Governor Cuomo’s command, saw comparable losses, like Michigan and New Jersey (NJ lost more than 12% of patients). But other states who did the opposite, like Florida, have seen very minimal losses and contractions in their nursing homes, not to mention some of their larger senior populations. The New York Governor took quick notice of the arising problem and placed it as a high priority in speech, but nothing has been executed as of yet to hastily flatten the curve on paper.