Senator Ortt Issues Statement on Department of Justice Inquiry into NY Nursing Home Deaths

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New York State Senator Rob Ortt.


By: Staff Reporter

Federal officials are requesting information from Governor Andrew Cuomo on COVID-19 orders that may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of nursing home residents. The Department of Justice requested the information in a letter to Governor Cuomo on Wednesday, August 26th. The Civil Rights Division of the DOJ is investigating whether the “Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act” was violated.

In response to the DOJ’s announcement, State Senator and Republican minority leader Rob Ortt released the following statement:

Grieving families who lost loved ones in nursing homes deserve to know why the Department of Health failed New York’s most vulnerable. For months, New York State Senate Republicans have demanded an independent investigation into the tragedy in our nursing homes while Senate Democrats refused to utilize their subpoena authority. Today, the Department of Justice answered our call. 

The Cuomo administration, unlike any other state in the nation, refused to provide an accurate number of nursing home residents who passed away during the pandemic and continually stonewalls lawmakers and families who seek answers. When his Health Commissioner Howard Zucker appeared before the legislature at hearings, he refused to provide transparency – leaving families, workers, and lawmakers searching for answers on the March 25 directive and the state’s support for nursing homes, assisted living, and long-term care facilities. 

Senate Republicans have heard the pain of families, and we share in their mourning. The lives lost cannot be replaced, but we still believe this investigation of public nursing homes is a good first step in providing truth on a very dark chapter of this terrible time in New York.

We will continue to fight for a more expansive independent investigation to get answers for every family in New York.


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