DOJ seeks data about COVID nursing home deaths from 4 states

National News

FILE – In this April 17, 2020, file photo, emergency medical workers arrive at Cobble Hill Health Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, to an Associated Press report that his state’s coronavirus death toll in nursing homes could be a major undercount, saying it makes sense to include only those residents who died on the home’s property. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

The Justice Department is seeking data about “orders which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents,” sending letters Wednesday to the governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Officials said Wednesday that the Justice Department’s civil rights division is evaluating whether to initiate investigations under a federal law that protects the rights of people in state-run nursing homes and other facilities.

Prosecutors are trying to determine whether state orders requiring admission of COVID-19 patients to nursing homes could have led to deaths.

Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband says the federal government must ensure vulnerable nursing home patients “are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”

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