Corrado: Success of New York’s Investigation Into Nursing Home Deaths Should Serve as Motivation for New Jersey to Act
Senator Kristin Corrado said the success of New York investigators in holding Governor Andrew Cuomo accountable and forcing his administration to be more transparent should serve as motivation for legislators to act in New Jersey.
“The Cuomo Administration was forced to acknowledge that it was cooking the books on nursing home deaths in New York because someone took the time to investigate and connect the dots,” said Corrado. “New Jersey deserves a similar effort to hold the Murphy Administration accountable for its tragically flawed orders that led to nearly 8,000 deaths that we know about in our nursing homes and veterans homes.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a report yesterday raising concerns over directives issued in both states last March that forced nursing homes to readmit COVID-positive patients, which led to mass outbreaks and thousands of deaths.
The report also alleged that the Cuomo Administration was not being transparent with the public about the tragic impact of those orders, estimating that the true nursing home death toll in New York could be 50% higher than what Cuomo’s officials had reported.
That proved to be the case as New York Health Department quickly raised the tally of nursing home deaths in the Empire State by nearly 4,000 within hours of the report.
Governor Murphy also has faced criticism that he has not been transparent with the public, legislators, or the media as his administration has repeatedly blocked the release of requests for public records related to New Jersey’s COVID-19 response.
“Governor Murphy was joined at the hip to Governor Cuomo early in pandemic when he chose to mirror New York’s disastrous nursing home policies,” said Corrado. “Based on the Murphy Administration’s continual efforts to fight the release of internal documents, we can only imagine what we would find if they were held to the same level of scrutiny as the Cuomo Administration in New York.”
Since May, Senate Republicans have repeatedly called for the formation of a bipartisan legislative investigative committee with subpoena power to examine the Murphy Administration’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, including the tragic decisions to force nursing homes to accept infected patients and to reprimand State-run veterans home employees for using personal protective equipment (PPE) that could have prevented the spread of the coronavirus and the loss of life.
Multiple efforts to encourage the Senate Democratic Majority to work with Republicans on a solutions-oriented bipartisan effort to save lives and protect the health and finances of New Jersey families were ignored.
Even worse, Senate Democrats actively voted numerous times to block the formation of the proposed bipartisan committee, despite the fact that the the formative resolution would have empowered them to control the investigative process due to their status as the majority party.
“A transparent, public investigation into New Jersey’s coronavirus response is clearly in the public’s best interest,” added Corrado. “It worked in New York, and it could work here too if Democrats stopped stonewalling to protect Governor Murphy.”
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