On the Radar
DOJ Seeks Data on Nursing Home COVID-19 Deaths
The Dept. of Justice (DOJ) has asked the Democratic governors of Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania to provide coronavirus (COVID-19) data related to the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents, which may have been caused by the governors requiring facilities to readmit COVID-19 patients.
Nursing homes have been hit hard by the pandemic, as elderly patients are particularly vulnerable to serious complications and death from COVID-19.
The DOJ is seeking the data to help determine if it will initiate investigations into whether the states’ orders are responsible for the deaths of nursing home residents and justify civil rights charges under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband said:
“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations. We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) press secretary, Tiffany Brown, responded with the following:
“Protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of our seniors and most vulnerable residents has been a top priority throughout this crisis. The fact that this letter was sent during the middle of the Republican National Convention week to four Democratic governors should make it crystal clear that this is nothing more than election year politics by an administration that is more concerned with the president’s re-election campaign than protecting Michigan seniors."