Michigan Senate passes bill to stop Whitmer’s nursing home policy
"We still don’t know how many paid the ultimate price because of these policies”, Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, said before voting.
On Wednesday, the Michigan Senate passed a bill to protect nursing home residents from COVID-19 on a bipartisan vote.
In a letter to Whitmer, U.S. Congressional Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, wrote that the policy “likely contributed to the thousands of elderly deaths in Michigan.”
In March, the Health Care Association of Michigan advised the governor to quarantine COVID-positive patients in empty facilities, advice which she did not take.
President and CEO of the Health Care Association of Michigan Melissa Samuel said she did not know why the governor did not follow recommendations. “I think it’s something that should have been explored,” she said to the Detroit News. “Maybe they did do that, and it wasn’t shared with us.”
The state has reported 1,947 deaths among nursing home residents and 20 deaths among their staff, which represent more than a third of Michigan’s COVID-19 death toll. Two-thirds of overall COVID deaths in the state are individuals 70 years of age or older. And 87% of all Michigan deaths related to COVID-19 are residents aged 60 years and older.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, who said “For some yet unknown reason, state officials made decisions to bring COVID-19 patients into facilities with disastrous results.” The bill gained support from state Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit, whose own 83 year-old mother tested positive for COVID after being housed in one such facility. “Why the state of Michigan has chosen this path is beyond me,” Love said. “It seems like the most idiotic thing we could come up with.”
Before the vote, Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton said, “We still don’t know how many paid the ultimate price because of these policies.”
The bill now sits in the House Committee on Health Policy.
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