Connect with us

General News

Tedisco pressures Cuomo to disclose COVID-19 nursing home deaths

mm

Published

on

Tedisco pressures Cuomo to disclose COVID-19 nursing home deaths

An upstate lawmaker launched an online petition Wednesday demanding that Gov. Cuomo fully disclose the number of nursing home residents who have died from the coronavirus.

The state Health Department reports that more than 6,600 nursing home deaths are linked to COVID-19.

But that figure doesn’t include gravely ill nursing home residents who died after being transported to hospitals. The Health Department has a tracking system from nursing homes and hospitals that has the information but is stonewalling requests to release it, critics say.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths of nursing home and assisted living center residents would increase substantially — from accounting for about 20 percent of all COVID-19 fatalities in the state to 30 percent — if fatalities from hospitals are included, said Sen. James Tedisco (R-Glenville) who launched the online petition drive on his government website.

He announced the effort accompanied by Assembly GOP Minority Leader Robert Ortt and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R-Ballston Spa).

The petition repeats calls for a law calling authorizing an independent investigation with subpoena power to get to the bottom of nursing home deaths.

“GOVERNOR CUOMO RELEASE THE REAL NURSING HOME NUMBERS!” the headline to the petition says.

“Sign the petition demanding the Legislative Majorities bring forth bi-partisan legislation (S.8756/A.10857) by Senator Tedisco and Assemblyman Kim) for an independent investigation with subpoena power to get the real numbers of residents who died from COVID-19 in state-regulated nursing homes,” the petition drafted by Tedisco said.

“Families deserve answers and closure and New York State must prepare for the future! Sign Now!”

Tedisco wants the petition drive to be a bipartisan effort and noted that he sent a letter to all Democratic and Republican lawmakers to share it on their websites and encourage their constituents to sign it.

He also emphasized the bill he’s pushing calling for an independent probe of nursing home deaths is being carried in the Assembly by Queens Democrat Ron Kim.

Three Democratic senators who chair the investigations (James Skoufis) health (Gustavo Rivera) and aging (Rachel May) committees also sent a letter to Cuomo recently requesting more complete data on nursing home deaths, following a public hearing on the topic in August.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker did not release the data they were seeking during his testimony at the hearing.

“I expect to hear from people because when the governor calls this political — there are Democrat and Republican sponsors of the bill in the Senate and the Assembly — so this is not a Republican or a Democrat thing, this is: `we need the numbers and we need a plan,’” Tedisco said.

But Tedisco did say only the Democrats who are in the majority and chair the committees can compel information from the Cuomo administration via subpoena.

“Now the weather is getting colder, the leaves are falling so we need to get the numbers. Look, it may be embarrassing if the numbers are high for the governor. But that embarrassment doesn’t rise above the need to get those numbers to plan for the future and get the answers to the loved ones who deserve to hear this,” Tedisco said.

He also said relatives of nursing home residents who died from COVID-19 deserve answers because “closure is important.”

The controversy over nursing home deaths started when family members and nursing home operators criticized the state’s March 25 directive that required the facilities to accept or readmit recovering coronavirus patients from hospitals without testing. Cuomo rescinded the policy in May following heated complaints.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Gov. Andrew CuomoJames Messerschmidt

Cuomo admitted that the coronavirus spread through nursing homes “like fire through dry grass.” Critics said the policy contributed to the spread of COVID-19 infections in nursing homes.

But an internal Health Department study claimed the coronavirus spread through nursing homes by staffers and visitors, not from recuperating COVID-19 patients transferred from hospitals. Even Democratic lawmakers dismissed report as incomplete.

“Now the weather is getting colder, the leaves are falling so we need to get the numbers. Look, it may be embarrassing if the numbers are high for the governor. But that embarrassment doesn’t rise above the need to get those numbers to plan for the future and get the answers to the loved ones who deserve to hear this,” Tedisco said.

“I expect to hear from people because when the governor calls this political — there are Democrat and Republican sponsors of the bill in the Senate and the Assembly — so this is not a Republican or a Democrat thing, this is: `we need the numbers and we need a plan.’”

He did say the Democratic majority has the power to compel information from team Cuomo via subpoena, if officials refused to do so voluntarily.

“They can’t just talk the talk. “They have to walk the walk,” Tedisco said.

“We had the hearings and we didn’t get the answers we needed, there was obfuscating and dodging. Now we need to use the subpoena power. It’s our last resort.”

“The voters and the citizens, the petition drive is one way to let the Commissioner Zucker and governor know that you can’t let an embarrassment you have or concern get in the way. The signatures can show that.”

He said he believes Cuomo officials have the true account of nursing home deaths from COVID-19.

“The cover-up sometimes is worse than the action that you did to do the cover-up. I do think there is a cover-up,” Tedisco said

Cuomo’s office dismissed the petition drive as political.

“With this latest publicity stunt, Tedisco and company accidentally revealed that even they think the DOJ inquiry is a trumped-up partisan farce,” said Cuomo senior adviser Richard Azzopardi.

He was referring to a Justice Department preliminary inquiry to determine whether the policies in New York and three other states contributed to nursing home deaths from COVID-19.

The state Health Department reports that 25,440 people died from COVID-19 in New York. But the John Hopkins U. Coronavirus Resource Center says 33,038 people have died from the killer bug in The Empire State.

mm

Devon is a fitness enthusiast who loves playing Golf in his free time. He keeps in touch with the Golf events happening all around the world and jots down fine news pieces for the website.

Devon is a fitness enthusiast who loves playing Golf in his free time. He keeps in touch with the Golf events happening all around the world and jots down fine news pieces for the website.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

General News

Woman’s $45M jury award puts cash-strapped NYC at risk: lawyers

mm

Published

on

Woman's $45M jury award puts cash-strapped NYC at risk: lawyers

The city is asking an appeals court to lower an Upper West Side philanthropist’s $45-million personal-injury payout — even though it wasn’t part of the lawsuit — because it’s afraid the payday sets a precedent that could force cash-strapped municipal agencies and authorities further into the red.

The city’s Law Department, the New York City Housing Authority, and the New York City Transit Authority are asking judges from Manhattan’s Appellate Division to lower the $45 million awarded to Marion Hedges, who suffered severe brain damage following the October 2011 incident at the East River Plaza mall in East Harlem when teens threw a shopping cart from a 79-foot-high landing outside a Target store.

Hedges, 55, won the record-setting award in 2018. The trial court judge slashed the amount in half but the injured mom of two is still battling insurance companies for the mall and its security firm for payment.

No public entities are party to the case, but the city’s legal minds fear the eight-figure award would set a dangerous precedent, driving up future legal costs in lawsuits against the city and transit authority, government lawyers argue in new court papers.

“The court’s vigilance is needed now more than ever,” Devin Slack, assistant corporation counsel for Mayor de Blasio’s Law Department, writes to a panel of appeals court judges.

“State and local governments across the country face unprecedented fiscal crises and are making deep cuts to public services, from education and health care,” he says in the recent brief.

The COVID-19 shutdown deprived the city of at least $9 billion in revenue.

“Why should the city and the MTA by pointing out their unquestionably difficult circumstances as a result of COVID deprive this one plaintiff of her justice and her day in court after seven years? That’s my response to this,” Hedges’ attorney, Thomas Moore, told The Post.

“The MTA is in the midst of a once in a 100 years fiscal tsunami that has demolished 40 percent of our revenue,” writes MTA lawyer Lawrence Heisler, noting that it faces a $16 billion deficit through 2024 with ridership at less than 30 percent of pre-coronavirus levels.

“That new reality demands that Courts condemn ‘anchoring,’ the practice of counsel asking the jury to return an unjustifiably high award. That practice yields results, seducing juries into delivering awards that differ wildly from reasonable compensation,” Heisler argues.

The MTA’s own personal injury payouts have skyrocketed from just $43 million in 2007 to $150 million in 2019.

“Many of the individual payouts are a direct result of the anchoring tactics that warp the deliberations of lay jurors,” Heisler writes.

The city and NYCHA’s litigation costs are similarly burdensome. The Big Apple faces about 17,000 new personal injury cases annually that result in average compensation of $100,000 each. That amount has quadrupled over the past seven years. NYCHA sets aside tens of millions of dollars yearly to fend off lawsuits.

“Raising the ceiling for pain and suffering awards would make a bad situation worse, to the detriment of the city’s residents,” de Blasio administration lawyer Slack adds in the brief.

The appeals panel is expected to rule on the matter by early next year.

“If the court upholds these outsized jury awards, and personal injury trial lawyers are allowed to continue these tactics, it will be open season on already cash-strapped city agencies,” said Tom Stebbins, director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.

“Like sharks to a shipwreck, every lawyer in town will smell blood in the water while taxpayer-funded city and MTA budgets are drowning,” Stebbins told The Post.

mm

Devon is a fitness enthusiast who loves playing Golf in his free time. He keeps in touch with the Golf events happening all around the world and jots down fine news pieces for the website.

Continue Reading

General News

Protesters gather outside Mitch McConnell’s home over SCOTUS vacancy

mm

Published

on

Protesters gather outside Mitch McConnell's home over SCOTUS vacancy

A crowd of protesters chanted “ditch Mitch” outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky home after the Republican leader said he would move to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.

About 100 protesters gathered outside McConnell’s Louisville home on Saturday after he said he would push for a Senate vote on filling the seat with the presidential election is less than seven weeks away, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.

The demonstrators called out “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Mitch McConnell has got to go,” “vote him out” and ditch Mitch.”

One arrest was reported during the protests that ended after about three hours.

The protesters said the voters should have a say in November’s election on whether President Trump will remain in office before a nominee is voted on in the Senate.

“I’m disgusted that Senator McConnell would treat this opportunity in a complete different manner than he treated the opportunity when there was a vacancy when Obama was nine or 10 months away from the election,” Laura Johnsrude, one of the protesters, told the Courier Journal. “I’m not surprised, but I am disgusted. I think that’s appalling.”

McConnell in 2016 refused to allow a vote for Merrick Garland — former President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia — because it was an election year.

McConnell said the situation in 2020 is different.

He said the American people re-elected a GOP majority in the Senate in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 “because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.”

mm

Devon is a fitness enthusiast who loves playing Golf in his free time. He keeps in touch with the Golf events happening all around the world and jots down fine news pieces for the website.

Continue Reading

General News

Pope Francis to parents of LGBT kids: ‘God loves your children’

mm

Published

on

Pope Francis to parents of LGBT kids: ‘God loves your children’

Pope Francis reassured parents of LGBT children that “God loves your children as they are,” and that there is a place in the church for them, according to a report.

“The church loves your children as they are because they are children of God,” the pontiff told the group, according to a report in the Jesuit weekly America Magazine.

The exchange came during a meeting last week with “Tenda di Gionata,” or “Jonathan’s Tent,” an Italian group of Christian parents of LBGT children founded in 2018, the magazine said.

A group of about 40 parents met briefly with the pope last week in the courtyard of San Damaso at the Vatican — with the parents presenting the pontiff with a rainbow-colored T-shirt that read, “In love, there is no fear.”

They also gave the pope a book titled “Genitori Fortunati,” or “Fortunate Parents,” which documents their difficulties fitting into the Catholic Church.

“We wish to create a bridge to the church so that the church too can change its way of looking at our children, no longer excluding them but fully welcoming them,” Mara Grassi, the group’s vice-president, told the pope.

Grassi later told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica she had “very strong emotions” during the visit, America said.

People attend Pope Francis' Angelus prayer at Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City.
People attend Pope Francis’ Angelus prayer at Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City.EPA

“For many years I was like a blind person,” she said. “After I came to know that my son was homosexual, I suffered a lot because the rules of the church made me think that he was excluded from the love of God. Nobody helped me.”

The group grew out of a church vigil in the northern city of Reggio Emilia, where Grassi met several other parents of LGBTQ children — inspired by the preaching of the Rev. Paolo Cugini, who believes that “faith and homosexuality are not in opposition.”

The Catholic Church has long struggled with the acceptance of gay parishioners. Last year, a Polish archbishop pronounced during a  sermon in Warsaw that the country was under siege from a “rainbow plague” sparked by gay rights advocates.

mm

Devon is a fitness enthusiast who loves playing Golf in his free time. He keeps in touch with the Golf events happening all around the world and jots down fine news pieces for the website.

Continue Reading

Trending