ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Just one week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring nursing homes to release information to resident’s families in a timely matter, today he announced the state’s health department was teaming up with the Attorney General’s office to investigate violations of this law.
“Nursing homes, they are our top priority,” Cuomo said during his press briefing Thursday. “They have been from day one.”
This task force will investigate any complaints that nursing homes are not notifying resident’s families if there has been a positive COVID-19 case or COVID-19 related death inside the facility within 24-hours – something that is now mandated following the governor’s executive order.
“We’ve launched a hotline where residents and families and members of the public can share complaints of nursing homes that have not been providing required communications with families about COVID-19 diagnoses or fatalities,” said NYS Attorney General, Letitia James.
This task force is through the office of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Inspection teams will be looking into claims across the state.
“I encourage, because you are the eyes and ears, I encourage people – including staff – to file claims online, or call the office of the Attorney General at 833-294-8499,” James said.
This comes as deaths in nursing homes continues to rise across the state. According to James, there are more than 600 nursing homes in New York State, and as of Wednesday, there have been 3,500 deaths at these facilities.
James tells News 4 this hotline isn’t just for violations of this executive order, however, it’s for any instance where people believe a nursing home facility is not properly handling this pandemic.
Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.