New York Governor Kathy Hochul is apologizing to families of nursing home residents who died during the height of the pandemic.

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The Democrat held a closed-door meeting in her Manhattan offices with the families who presented a list of desired reforms, including state admission of its contribution to the deaths of the patients with the requirement that nursing homes accept patients who had been getting treatments in hospitals for COVID-19.  The group is also proposing a nursing home victim compensation fund.

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Hochul’s predecessor, Governor Andrew Cuomo, never apologized for policies regarded by many as contributing to the high rate of morbidity at long-term care facilities during the start and height of the COVID outbreak starting in March of 2020.

In addition to criticism over the policy of requiring nursing homes to take in COVID positive patients, the Cuomo administration had been under fire for underreporting the number of deaths in nursing homes attributed to the pandemic, even after an admission that numbers presented to federal officials may have been adjusted downward in order to protect funding that former President Donald Trump threatened to withhold from Democratic-led states like New York.

Those familiar with the hour-long meeting with Hochul October 13 called the session a “good start”.

Among some other demands from the group: release of all remaining nursing home data and pending Freedom of Information Law request, a new audit of COVID-related nursing home deaths and a dedication of a “nursing home victim memorial.”

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