Gov. Andrew Cuomo has finally admitted — tacitly and partially, anyway — the mistake that was state health chief Howard Zucker’s order that nursing homes must admit coronavirus-positive patients.
On Sunday, Cuomo announced a new regulation: Such patients must now test negative for the virus before hospitals can return them to nursing homes. Yet the gov also admitted that COVID-19 cases might still go to the facilities via other routes, and didn’t explicitly overrule Zucker’s March 25 mandate that homes must accept people despite their testing status — indeed, couldn’t even require a test pre-admission.
The gov’s people say that a home that simply can’t accommodate coronavirus patients never had to take them — though they are obliged to help those people find a place that will, with help available from the state if needed. That is: Zucker’s mandate was never more than a “don’t discriminate” rule.
So, while the gov’s people imply that some homes simply misunderstood the rules, the real message to operators was that declaring themselves overwhelmed would put their licenses at risk.
Notably, the chief of one Cobble Hill facility not only had his request for PPE denied, he got turned down cold when he then asked to transfer patients.
Then, too, Zucker’s Department of Health has issued other heartless orders during this crisis — the now-rescinded “don’t even try to resuscitate” mandate to EMTs for cardiac-arrest cases, as well as telling at least one home it was OK to keep staffers on the job after they’d tested positive.
Also telling: The gov has ordered an investigation that’s plainly supposed to pin all the blame on nursing and adult-care facilities: It’s led by state Attorney General Tish James, who got her job with Cuomo’s crucial assistance — and it’s only looking at what homes did wrong.
We’re sure James will uncover plenty of real horrors: Everyone (who cared to know) has long been aware that many New York nursing homes leave a lot to be desired. But that was all the more reason for Zucker & Co. to focus on policing and assisting these facilities from the start — rather than issuing edicts that led to repeated and needless tragedies.
Read the full article here: https://nypost.com/2020/05/10/cuomo-was-wrong-to-order-nursing-homes-to-accept-coronavirus-patients/