New York Department of Health undercounted Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes, attorney general's report says

The New York state Department of Health undercounted Covid-19 deaths among nursing home residents by approximately 50%, according to a report released Thursday by the state attorney general’s office.

The report by Attorney General Letitia James preliminarily concluded deaths were underreported based on a survey of 62 nursing homes, a roughly 10% sample of total facilities across the state.
The report, which did not name the nursing homes surveyed, detailed one facility where deaths were underreported to the Department of Health by as many as 29 deaths.
“A facility reported five confirmed and six presumed COVID-19 deaths at the facility as of August 3 to DOH. However, the facility reported to OAG a total of 27 COVID-19 deaths at the facility and 13 hospital deaths — a discrepancy of 29 deaths,” the report says.
    According to the report, preliminary data suggests there were nursing home residents who were transferred from their nursing homes and later died from Covid-19 in hospitals, which is not reflected in the Department of Health’s public data.
    James’ office continues to investigate the discrepancies, according to the report.
    “OAG is investigating those circumstances where the discrepancies cannot reasonably be accounted for by error or the difference in the question posed,” the report said.
    The Department of Health and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
      The state’s handling of nursing homes and their residents amid the pandemic has been a subject of scrutiny, particularly after a March 25 order by the state’s Department of Health mandated nursing homes must not deny readmission to residents “based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.”
      Cuomo announced a new policy on May 10, saying a hospital cannot discharge a patient to a nursing home unless they test negative for the virus.

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