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Feds To Impose New Coronavirus Testing Rules After New York Nursing Home Disaster: Report

Feds To Impose New Coronavirus Testing Rules After New York Nursing Home Disaster: Report
Senior man in wheelchair wearing protective mask to prevent coronavirus transmission on porch
The Trump administration will implement new mandatory federal COVID-19 testing and reporting rules for nursing homes this week in an effort to prevent the death toll that occurred in New York at the height of the virus, a new report says.
The new rules will mandate that all nursing homes offer coronavirus tests to patients if anyone in the facility contracts COVID-19 or exhibits symptoms, the New York Post reports. The nursing homes will be required to report test results in most cases.“These new rules represent a dramatic ramp-up in our efforts to track and control the spread of COVID-19, especially in nursing homes,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.
“One administration official was more blunt in describing the changes. ‘President Trump is mandating everything Gov. Cuomo failed to do in order to protect America’s seniors from this virus,’ the official said,” according to The Post.
In March, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered nursing homes to accept people even if they tested positive for the virus. “No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission,” read Cuomo’s order.
“During this global health emergency, all NHs must comply with the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals to NHs. Residents are deemed appropriate for return to a NH upon a determination by the hospital physician or designee that the resident is medically stable for return,” said the order, which the Associated Press reported sent “6,300 infected people to nursing homes during the crisis has been blamed in part for the higher death rate in New York.”
On May 11, Cuomo reversed the March 25 order that forced nursing homes to accept patients who tested positive for coronavirus despite testing deficiencies for both residents and staff.
The order has disappeared from the state’s health department web page. “The webpage that once contained the order now directs to a page indicating that the file is ‘not found.’ The archive indicates that the deletion occurred sometime after May 5, around the time that criticism over New York’s nursing home fatalities intensified,” Fox News reported.
The AP this month detailed nursing home deaths in New York in a piece headlined, “New York’s true nursing home death toll cloaked in secrecy.”
“For all 43 states that break out nursing home data, resident deaths make up 44% of total COVID deaths in their states, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Assuming the same proportion held in New York, that would translate to more than 11,000 nursing home deaths,” the AP said.
Nearly every time Cuomo is questioned about New York’s nursing home death toll, he brushes off criticism as politically motivated and notes that his state’s percentage of nursing home deaths out of its overall COVID-19 death toll is around 20%, far less than Pennsylvania’s 68%, Massachusetts’ 64% and New Jersey’s 44%.
“Look at the basic facts where New York is versus other states,” Cuomo said during a briefing Monday. “You look at where New York is as a percentage of nursing home deaths, it’s all the way at the bottom of the list.”

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