Senate GOP bills would launch investigation of 15,000 nursing home deaths

Photo courtesy of Sen. James Tedisco’s office

Sen. James Tedisco announced a new bill (S.8285) with 12 of his Republican colleagues requiring an official investigation of the more than 15,000 nursing home-related deaths that occurred in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That bill calls for an independent investigation into the 15,286 reported nursing home-related deaths that occurred during the pandemic, while another bill (S.8217) would commemorate March 25 as a day of remembrance for the lives lost to COVID in the state of New York.

Senate Republican leader Robert Orrt spoke at a press conference in the Capitol recently saying “The problem (nursing home deaths) is very inconvenient for [State Health Commissioner Mary Bassett] and her boss [Gov. Kathy Hochul], but I can tell you it’s not nearly as inconvenient as the deaths of the 15,000 people that occurred in this state indirect part of that order.”

The order that Sen. Orrt is referring to was issued by the New York State Health Department in 2020.

Recently, the new Health Commissioner Mary Bassett — who was not commissioner at the time that the controversial order — advocated for a forward-looking approach for the current administration, stating that she won’t “try and unravel what happened in the nursing homes under the previous commissioner,” but some Republicans aren’t ready to move on just yet.

“This push isn’t about living in the past. It’s about ensuring the health and safety of all New Yorkers now and in the future,” said Sen. Sue Serino, a Republican member of the Aging Committee. “Dr. Bassett showed a complete disregard for these 15,000 New Yorkers, when she said during her recent confirmation hearings that she will not look back, or in her words, unravel, what happened with the former administration.”

Some members were also displeased with the consequences the former governor faced and still feel he has not been held fully accountable for the actions he took involving COVID-19.

“He called himself a COVID virus slayer, he was basically a COVID virus purveyor,” said Tedisco, referring to Cuomo’s book American Crisis.

Both bills are currently in committee. Bill S.8285 is currently in the Health Committee and bill S.8217 is in the Finance Committee of the Senate.

“We’re not talking about going backward,” said Tedisco, R-Glenville. “We’re talking about going forward with this particular proposal for a full investigation and a plan and a group of recommendations about the best practices that were in place and the failures that were put in place. That is what this is all about.”

Caleb Guerrido is a senior at SUNY New Paltz and majors in journalism. He wants to become a sports radio broadcaster/podcaster, and eventually own his own podcasting network. In his spare time, Caleb loves listening and creating podcasts, hanging out with friends and making money moves.