“All the deaths in the nursing homes and hospitals were always fully, publicly and accurately reported,” the Democratic governor said, weeks after the state was forced to acknowledge that its count of nursing home deaths excluded thousands of residents who perished after being taken to hospitals. He explained the matter Monday as a difference of “categorization,” with the state counting where deaths occurred and others seeking total deaths of nursing home residents, regardless of the location.
“We should have done a better job of providing as much information as we could as quickly as we could,” he said at a virtual news conference. “No excuses: I accept responsibility for that.”
Cuomo, who has seen his image as a pandemic-taming leader dented by a series of disclosures involving nursing homes in recent weeks, said he would propose reforms involving nursing homes and hospitals in the upcoming state budget, without giving details.
But he continued to blame a “toxic political environment,” and “disinformation” for much of the complaints surrounding his administration's handling of the issue.
The governor's comments didn't satisfy state Assemblyman
“I didn’t think it was much of an apology,” Kim said. “It doesn’t pass the smell test.”
“But what gets lost, ultimately, is: If they were transparent, if they did disclose everything in real time, we could have had different policies ... and that would have had a different outcome in how we protected our communities.”
The head of a major association of
“Policymakers and legislators must stop the blame game" and work more closely with nursing homes, said
State lawmakers have been calling for investigations, stripping Cuomo of his emergency powers and even his resignation after new details emerged this week about why certain nursing home data wasn't disclosed for months, despite requests from lawmakers and others.
First, a report late last month from Democratic state Attorney General
Next, in reply to a Freedom of Information request from the
Cuomo and his administration have maintained that the hospital patients didn't drive nursing home outbreaks, saying the patients likely weren't contagious anymore and virtually all the homes that admitted them had cases already. Still, the governor stopped allowing such admissions in May.
Late this week, it emerged that top Cuomo aide
Echoing an explanation DeRosa gave Friday, Cuomo said the state was slow to respond to the lawmakers because officials prioritized dealing with requests from the
“When we didn’t provide information, it allowed press, people, cynics, politicians, to fill the void," he said, and “it created confusion and cynicism and pain for the families.”
“The truth is: Everybody did everything they could.”
But nursing home residents' advocate
“The governor has the power to take the steps necessary to ensure that nursing homes dedicate the resources needed to ensure safety,” said Mollot, the executive director of the