MI’s Whitmer, Like NY’s Cuomo, Requires COVID-19 Patients Allowed Back In Nursing Homes

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As New York has struggled to respond to the highest concentration of coronavirus cases in the nation, Governor Andrew Cuomo required that COVID-19 patients be returned to nursing homes despite the elderly and immunocompromised being at the highest risk of the novel disease.

Now, it appears that Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer, whose stringent lockdown measures have been met with fevered backlash, has issued an executive order that mimic’s Cuomo’s nursing home requirements.

The Federalist reports that Whitmer’s own Department of Health and Human Services (MDHSS) Director Robert Gordon is warning about new executive order and the inaccurate measurements of COVID-19 related deaths coming out of Michigan’s nursing homes.

During a Michigan Senate Oversight Committee hearing, Gordon said he does not believe Whitmer’s claim that there have been 684 nursing home deaths attributed to COVID-19, stating that this is an “undercount.”

“That number is COVID related deaths that have been reported, I do not stand behind that number as an accurate and full accounting of COVID related nursing home deaths and I wouldn’t want us to present it that way… I think that number is probably, in fact, I’m confident that number is an undercount,” Gordon said.

Nationally, a stunning 42% of COVID-19 deaths took place in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Michigan, however, is one of eight states that does not record deaths by residential category, according to the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP).

However, comparing Michigan to New York can give us some helpful, while chilling, insight into nursing home deaths, as The Federalist explains.

“On March 25, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a controversial advisory demanding hospitals discharge elderly patients with COVID-19 back to nursing homes. The advisory was built to combat alleged ‘discrimination’ of those with COVID-19,” they note.

“No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [nursing homes] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” the advisory reads.

Whitmer’s new advisory mimics New York’s in that it claims to be aimed at combating discrimination, preventing facilities from prohibiting residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 to be readmitted.

“A long-term care facility must not prohibit admission or readmission of a resident based on COVID-19 testing requirements or results in a manner that is inconsistent with this order,” Whitmer’s new executive order reads.

The Federalist explains further:

In her new executive order, Whitmer also instituted the creation of “regional hubs” for COVID-19 affected residents. These are designated nursing homes that will act as a conglomerate for other nursing homes that do not provide a designated COVID-19 unit. Some nursing homes will rid their facilities of COVID-19 patients, while others create a full-blown hub.

“If the long-term care facility does not have a dedicated unit, it must attempt to transfer the COVID-19-affected resident to a regional hub, an alternate care facility with physical and operational capacity to care for the resident, or an available swing bed at a hospital,” the order reads.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reported state officials do not see fit to require extra inspections of nursing homes that sign on to receive COVID-19 patients as regional hub facilities. The governor’s order means care facilities with no COVID-19 patients will be treated the same as care facilities with the entire region’s conglomerate of elderly COVID-19 patients.

Considering the measures that Whitmer has taken to limit the ability of Michiganders to earn an income, it boggles the mind to consider how wildly irresponsible this move is.

The coronavirus has disproportionately affected the elderly and infirm. Why are Cuomo and Whitmer so determined to require those carrying the virus to be readmitted to facilities where the most at-risk members of the population are living?

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