ALBANY (TNS) — Having lost her in-laws to coronavirus, Fox News’ Janice Dean joined lawmakers in Albany Wednesday to push legislation creating an independent commission to investigate the state’s nursing home deaths.
Dean and others called for the passage of a bipartisan bill sponsored by New York Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, and Assemblyman Ron Kim, D-Queens, that would establish a panel with subpoena power to perform a top-to-bottom review of the more than 6,400 deaths reported in New York’s elder care facilities at the height of the pandemic.
“I am grateful and honored to be part of this call for the passage of bipartisan legislation for an independent investigation with Senator Tedisco and Assemblyman Kim this week,” Dean said. “It’s the stories of the families who have experienced the greatest loss in this pandemic — that can help us uncover what really happened.”
Critics have accused New York of under-counting nursing home deaths because unlike most other states with major outbreaks, the Empire State doesn’t include residents who were transported to hospitals and died there.
State health officials were grilling by lawmakers earlier this month about the counting as well as a controversial policy that compelled nursing homes to accept COVID-19-positive seniors at the height of the crisis and an in-house report that absolved officials.
Cuomo, who said last week that an independent investigation is not needed, defended the state’s counting methods Wednesday during an afternoon radio interview.
“Well then you would have to reduce the hospital deaths, and you are attributing a death to a nursing home when it didn’t occur in the nursing home, it occurred in the hospital,” he said. “If you died in a nursing home, it’s called a nursing home death. If you die in a hospital, it’s called a hospital death. It doesn’t say where were you before.”