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Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office tells PA House Republican delegation, House Select Subcommittee that ongoing nursing home investigation is “thorough, holistic, and wide-ranging”

July 6, 2020
Press Release
Briefing with Congressional offices comes in response to letter seeking investigation into Wolf administration’s COVID-19 nursing home guidance

WASHINGTON – Today, members of the Pennsylvania Republican Congressional Delegation, including Congressman GT Thompson, Congressman Mike Kelly, Congressman Scott Perry, Congressman Lloyd Smucker, Congressman Guy Reschenthaler, Congressman Dan Meuser, Congressman John Joyce, and Congressman Fred Keller, made the following statement following a briefing conducted for their offices by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office:

“On June 25, 2020, Republicans on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and eight members of the Pennsylvania Republican Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro requesting a formal review of the impact of Governor Wolf’s March 18, 2020 guidance for nursing homes to readmit COVID-19 positive residents that would be made public so that the over 4,500 Pennsylvania families that suffered as a result of this deadly policy could have answers.

“Today, July 6, 2020, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office briefed our offices by phone. The Attorney General’s office confirmed receipt of our letter, acknowledged that it is aware of the concerns expressed therein, and assured Pennsylvanians that the Attorney General’s office is conducting a ‘thorough, holistic, and wide-ranging investigation’ into Coronavirus and Pennsylvania's nursing homes ‘using all the tools the office has available.’

“The Pennsylvania delegation and members of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis remain committed to bringing transparency and accountability to Gov. Tom Wolf's and Sec. Rachel Levine's actions during the Coronavirus pandemic, especially as it relates to the unnecessary and tragic deaths of so many Pennsylvanians in nursing homes.”

BACKGROUND

  • On March 13, 2020, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance “For Infection Control and Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Nursing Homes.”
  • The March 13 guidance said that “nursing homes should admit any individual that they would normally admit to their facility, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present” only if the nursing home can follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) quarantining guidance.
  • CMS Administrator Seema Verma later said, “[u]nder no circumstances should a hospital discharge a patient to a nursing home that is not prepared to take care of those patient’s needs.”
  • Despite these warnings, however, governors of multiple states — including Pennsylvania — issued guidance and executive orders forcing nursing homes to admit people with the virus, thereby encouraging the spread to those vulnerable populations.
  • While nursing home residents make up 0.6% of the U.S. and Pennsylvania populations, they account for 43% of America’s coronavirus deaths and 68% of the Commonwealth’s coronavirus deaths.
  • The letter to AG Shapiro came after Republicans on the Select Subcommittee for Coronavirus Crisis sent a request for information about the nursing home order to Governor Wolf. His administration’s initial response can be found here.
  • So far, AG Shapiro is the first and only one of the five Attorneys General that House Republicans sent letters to last week to have given an update briefing like this.

 

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