On Thursday, the Justice Department informed Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s office that it will not be conducting an investigation into the COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
Almost a year ago, the DOJ told the governors of Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York and New Jersey that it wanted to determine if the states “violated federal law” by forcing nursing homes to admit residents who had been treated for COVID.
The chief of the DOJ’s special litigation section, Steven Rosenbaum, sent out a letter claiming they had reviewed information given to them by the state of Pennsylvania. Michigan also received an identical letter.
Phil Murphy, Gov. of New Jersey, says his office has not received one yet and a spokesperson for Andre Cuomo of New York says they are checking to see if one was sent.
Last fall, an investigation in a New Jersey nursing home was launched after incomplete answers were given regarding deaths. Cuomo’s administration was also questioned, but the probes were unclear.
When COVID rates spiked last spring, nursing homes in many states had a hard time containing the virus due to lack of testing supplies, staff, and protection equipment.
Over 250,000 patients were accepted into nursing homes throughout the last 12 months.
The four Democratic governors were widely criticized for their orders that potentially increased the spread of COVID. This drew the attention of the former president’s DOJ at the time.
Pennsylvania received harsh criticism from Republican lawmakers, but it is unclear if the policy caused the deaths.
No Pennsylvania nursing homes have said they were forced to accept infected patients or that the order led to outbreaks. Nursing homes were ordered to separate positive patients into different wings or floors and provide staff for those areas.