It’s not only New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is justifiably in hot water for implementing a deadly policy that forced nursing home facilities to accept coronavirus-positive patients who had been discharged from the hospital, against admonitions from long-term care directors. Now, Cuomo’s tri-state counterpart, New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, is facing mounting scrutiny for implementing a similar policy and ignoring warnings, as well.
Last week, TheBlaze highlighted that a medical director in New York attempted to sound the alarm about the inevitable consequences of the state’s dangerous policy on March 26 — the day after it was issued — desperate to get word out. But despite her best efforts, she couldn’t get through to the governor’s office. Thousands of elderly New Yorkers would tragically die as a result of the policy. But to many nursing home leaders, that sad outcome was entirely avoidable.
According to NJ Advance Media, a similar situation played out in New Jersey. The outlet noted that on March 31, following in New York’s footsteps, the state’s health department issued an order requiring nursing homes to “accept non-critically ill residents who had been discharged from the hospital, but who were still recovering from the coronavirus.”
The policy was reportedly announced in a tense conference call with hundreds of long-term care facility directors, a recording of which was recently obtained by the outlet. During the call, as New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli laid out the directive, her words were reportedly met with palpable exasperation and pushback from facility directors.
“Patients will die,” an unidentified administrator declared. “You understand that by asking us to take COVID patients, by demanding we take COVID patients, that patients will die in nursing homes that wouldn’t have otherwise died had we screened them out.”
But the warnings were not heeded. In April, the Society of Licensed Nursing Home Administrators of New Jersey penned an op-ed claiming nursing home directors “screamed from the rooftops to deaf ears” and ultimately “were an afterthought” amid the early stages of the pandemic. The policy’s implementation brought a “storm” of deaths and infections, the group stated.
In May, Sidney Greenberger, CEO of AristaCare Health Services, which operates six nursing home facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, said plainly, “Those officials ordered COVID-positive patients into those long-term care facilities without providing necessary support.”
According to the COVID Tracking Project, New York and New Jersey have two of the highest state totals for virus-caused nursing home deaths.