Cuomo administration is ordering homes for disabled to accept COVID patients

Cuomo administration is ordering homes for disabled to accept COVID patients

March 12, 2021

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It wasn’t just nursing homes.

The Cuomo administration has spent the last year quietly allowing COVID-19 patients to return to homes for the disabled — much like it did with nursing homes — and the policy remains in effect.

The state’s Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) issued a directive on April 10 barring the group homes from denying admission or re-admission to someone “based solely on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.”

The order also prohibits the facilities from requiring that a hospitalized individual be tested for COVID-19 before being admitted or re-admitted.

At least 552 residents of such homes have died of the virus as of Wednesday. More than 6,900 out of the more than 34,552 who live in the facilities have been infected, the agency said.

The guidance is similar to the controversial state Health Department order issued in the early days of the pandemic that required nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients from hospitals.

The Cuomo administration has faced mounting criticism that the later-rescinded March 25 policy directive fueled outbreaks in hard-hit nursing homes. The governor has claimed that the policy followed federal guidance.

Unlike the nursing home directive, the April 10 memo to homes for people with developmental disabilities is still in effect, the OPWDD told Fox News on Monday.

State politicians have recently expressed concern about the directive.

Republican members of the state Senate Committees on Disabilities & Mental Health last month sent a letter to OPWDD Commissioner Dr. Theodore Kastner asking for updated numbers on COVID-19 deaths and infections.

“I am deeply concerned that the April 10th order from OPWDD needlessly put some of our most vulnerable citizens in harm’s way,” GOP State Sen. Mike Martucci, a ranking member of the committee, said in a Feb. 25 statement.

“Close on the heels of the deadly nursing home order from the Department of Health (DOH), this order appears both dangerous and tone deaf,” Martucci said. “Transparency has been a major failing of this administration at all levels.”

State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, a Democrat from Tarrytown, last week sent a letter to Health Department Commissioner Howard Zucker asking for information about the OPWDD directive.

“Why is this directive still in effect and why has it not been modified?” he asked in the letter, which was obtained by The Post.

US-HEALTH-VIRUSVirus Outbreak Nursing Homes New York

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