What Are Your Rights: Andrew Cuomo Testifies on Pandemic Nursing Home Deaths

Recorded on June 12, 2024

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo testified recently about pandemic-era COVID-19 policies regarding New York nursing homes. He’s been accused of implementing policies that put the elderly in harm’s way and covering up the true number of nursing home COVID-19 deaths. What does this mean for affected families?

Managing partner Paul Harding from the law firm of Harding Mazzotti, LLP is on CBS6 to help explain.

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Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Harding Mazzotti.

Interviewer: Former Governor Andrew Cuomo testified yesterday about pandemic-era policies on COVID-19 in New York nursing homes. He’s been accused of implementing policies that put the elderly in harm’s way and covering up the true number of nursing home COVID-19 deaths. So I’ve got managing partner, Paul Harding, here from Harding Mazzotti. Thanks so much for being here today. So what is former Governor Cuomo accused of here?

Paul: The governor’s back, he was back.

Interviewer: Right.

Paul: Well, you know, it was taking these folks and again our elderly population, vulnerable population, they’re in the hospital, they were sick and then removing it from the hospital, putting them back in the nursing homes too soon or maybe, you know, wait until they got a complete clean bill of health because it argument that it affected so many other people. You know, that’s that’s the crux of the argument that he did that and you resulted in bad data too. He kind of then started counting the folks who died in the nursing home but of course, what happened to the nursing home get very sick go back to the hospital and they pass away. So we had bad numbers and maybe a bad decision.

Interviewer: Right and so what is the counter argument and what’s he been saying?

Paul: I follow the federal guidelines and to some degree he’s right.

Interviewer: Well, can lawsuits be brought against the nursing homes for any of these pandemic deaths?

Paul: So what was given, the state of New York gave immunity. Now we’ve got this sort of nursing home group, they’re lobbyists, they’re strong, they’re together and so they say like we’re not gonna take these people back maybe unless we have immunity and so immunity was given. Immunity is given through a lot of cold-related stuff but not for pure negligence, right? Not when you get to a reckless standard but it was given so there are no lawsuits that can’t be brought. The federal government sort of had a piece of that too but New York State made sure that if that happened, that the nursing homes and again we’re talking about Albany, we’re talking about politics, we’re talking about lobbyists, we’re talking about protection and up till now they have it.

Interviewer: Now in other situations can people bring lawsuits against nursing homes?

Paul: Yeah, all the time you know if someone does something negligent, someone doesn’t treat someone they roll off a bed and they’re supposed to have a guardrails up, right?

Interviewer: Right.

Paul: You know, yeah all the time but somehow with this they just granted an absolute immunity. You did not even just a maybe they could have said hey no negligence but recklessness, you’re still on the hook. Meaning, you just can’t maybe give but again tough times, COVID times, we were living in a different world.

Interviewer: What do you see coming out of all this? Anything?

Paul: Well, I don’t see a lot coming out of it. I say I think it kind of concludes everything as it pertains to the governor, the ex-governor and then I don’t see them removing that immunity for the folks who passed away in the nursing homes.

Interviewer: Interesting. All right. Paul, thank you so much for talking to us about it.

Paul: Absolutely.

Interviewer: And for more info covered in our weekly What Are Your Right? segments or to send us a story idea head to our website cbs6albany.com.

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