ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The Justice Department says it has decided not to open a civil rights investigation into government-run nursing homes in New York over their COVID-19 response.
Under former President Donald Trump, the department’s civil rights division requested data from several states about COVID-19 deaths in public nursing homes.
The request came amid questions about whether New York inadvertently worsened the pandemic death toll by requiring nursing homes to accept residents previously hospitalized for COVID-19.
In a letter sent Friday to several Republican members of Congress, the Justice Department said it had decided not to open an investigation after reviewing data sent by the state.
Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, R-22, wrote her own letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday, saying terminating the investigations is "simply unacceptable."
Read the full letter below:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he believes the nursing home investigations into New York and other Democratic states were "toxic" and "politically motivated" under the Trump administration.
"The political environment has gotten so toxic in this country. So toxic. So mean," said Cuomo. "It was an outrageous allegation. New York followed the CDC guidance. The CDC is a federal agency that's supposed to know what they're talking about, in terms of health. We followed the CDC when it came to how we handled people in nursing homes and when they went to the hospital and were brought back to the nursing home."
Cuomo said he doesn't believe New York's statistics warranted an investigation in the first place.
"...By the number of nursing home deaths as a percentage -- New York is number 31 in the country. We're not even near the top in terms of percentage of deaths in nursing homes. Why New York? Except that it was all politically motivated."
In January, the New York Attorney General's Office released a report indicating New York may have undercounted nursing home deaths by as much as 50%.