New York Congressional Republicans Urge DOJ to Investigate Coronavirus Deaths at State Group Homes | Congressman Lee Zeldin

New York Congressional Republicans Urge DOJ to Investigate Coronavirus Deaths at State Group Homes

March 17, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) joined Representatives Claudia Tenney (R, NY-22), Elise Stefanik (R, NY-21), Chris Jacobs (R, NY-27) and Nicole Malliotakis (R, NY-11) in urging U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate a possible violation of the civil rights of those with disabilities in New York State’s group homes and assess whether the statistics shared with federal authorities by the State of New York are accurate and truthful. 

A signed PDF of the letter can be found here

“Despite Andrew Cuomo’s best efforts to cover it up, New Yorkers now understand the true consequences of Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home mandate and the catastrophic toll it took on seniors,” said Congressman Zeldin. “With his administration dictating a similar mandate for group homes, it’s no surprise New Yorkers want answers regarding infection and death rates in these facilities. Unfortunately, all we’re getting is a bad case of deja vu as, once again, Cuomo’s administration has attempted to withhold facts. It’s clear that Andrew Cuomo has a visceral aversion to the truth, but we must do everything we can to secure justice for all vulnerable New Yorkers affected.”  

“Governor Cuomo’s policies during this pandemic have failed the most vulnerable New Yorkers and caused countless tragedies across our state,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “We’ve already raised serious question about the catastrophic results of Governor Cuomo’s negligent nursing home mandates and coverup. Now we are learning that the same tragedy likely unfolded in group homes as well. Given New York’s poor track record, there is reason to believe the total number of COVID-19 deaths in group homes is more than what has been reported. When it comes to protecting the lives of the most vulnerable, especially our seniors and those with disabilities, we must demand full transparency, which is why I’m calling for a full federal investigation into this issue. I’m also calling on Governor Cuomo to immediately rescind his group home directive.” 

“Given the Governor’s reckless and reprehensible nursing home directive, and the cover up that ensued, we have reason to fear that the number of COVID-related deaths in group homes is higher than what the state has reported. New Yorkers who are living with intellectual or developmental disabilities in group homes may be at an increased risk of dying from COVID-19, and they deserve protection and clarity. The DOJ must assess whether this harmful directive violates the civil rights of some of our most vulnerable and if the reported number of deaths in group homes is accurate,” said Congresswoman Stefanik.

“The similarities between the Governor’s disastrous nursing home order and this order for group homes, combined with the Governor’s track record of misrepresenting critical nursing home death data demonstrates that this investigation is warranted,” Congressman Jacobs said. “We must ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities are protected from unnecessarily dangerous policies and continue our effort to hold Governor Cuomo and his administration accountable.”

“While we’ve already called for a Department of Justice investigation into Governor Cuomo’s misguided executive order mandating nursing homes accept COVID-positive patients and the underreporting of deaths, it’s incumbent upon the Attorney General to further investigate the number of COVID-related deaths in group homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis. “Individuals with developmental disabilities are at an increased risk of contracting and passing away from COVID-19. These individuals, along with our seniors, are vulnerable and deserve protection. We must ensure the Governor’s directive did not violate these individuals’ civil rights, that deaths in group homes were not underreported and continue to call for answers and justice for those who lost loved ones because of the governor’s failed leadership.”