ALBANY, N.Y. — After New York’s new Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, testified before the Senate Finance Committee that she would not review the state’s past pandemic policies as they relate to nursing homes, New York State Senators Jim Tedisco and Sue Serino introduced Legislation that would compel the Commissioner to do just that.
The Senators — who have been longtime proponents of an independent investigation into the state’s COVID-19 nursing home policies — are urging New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to include their legislation in her 30-Day Budget Amendments.
“I was shocked and dismayed to hear Commissioner Bassett say she has not even bothered to read her predecessor’s one-page March 25, 2020 Executive Order that forced COVID-positive patients into nursing homes and that she refuses to ‘unravel’ what happened that led to the deaths of 15,000 of our most vulnerable citizens from the coronavirus in New York State-regulated nursing homes – one of the worst disasters in our state’s history,” Tedisco stated. “We owe it to the memories of all those who lost their lives from COVID-19 in our nursing homes and their families to thoroughly investigate what happened in 2020 and for the state Health Department to develop and recommend an action plan to prevent a terrible tragedy like this from ever happening again.”
“More than 15,000 New York nursing home and residential healthcare facility residents lost their lives to COVID-19 during the early days of the pandemic,” Serino said. “While the Commissioner may not want to “unravel” what happened with the former Administration in regards to pandemic response in nursing homes, we have a duty as public officials to seek answers and accountability, and to ensure that we learn from the past to improve future policy.
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