EXCLUSIVE: A New York City nursing home director tells Fox News that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order final yr requiring such amenities to absorb COVID-positive sufferers launched from hospitals was “ridiculous” and that he warned state officials “we will’t be doing this.”
Michael Kraus, the administrator of the Silver Lakes Specialized Care Center in Staten Island, mentioned he instantly raised the alarm after first listening to in regards to the March 25, 2020, order in a convention name with different administrators, hospital leaders and state officials.
“I mentioned that’s ridiculous. We can’t be doing this. It’s simply not proper to the residents,” Kraus instructed Fox News in an unique interview with correspondent Aishah Hasnie that aired Thursday on “America Reports.”
“And you vocalized that on these telephone conversations?” Hasnie requested.
“I did vocalize it,” Kraus mentioned. “And then as soon as it was shot down, I by no means spoke once more.”
Kraus — for the primary time — revealed what occurred behind the scenes following the controversial directive in New York, the place greater than 15,000 folks are confirmed to have died in state nursing properties and long-term care amenities from COVID-19.
However, as just lately as January, New York reported a fraction of that quantity — round 8,500 deaths. Critics blame Cuomo’s order, which he rescinded in May 2020.
The situation made nationwide headlines final month when high Cuomo adviser Melissa DeRosa instructed Democratic state lawmakers that the governor’s administration had withheld details about the demise toll as a result of, as she put it, “we froze” within the face of a possible federal investigation from the Trump administration. Cuomo himself subsequently acknowledged that each state lawmakers and the Department of Justice had made requests in August 2020 for a full accounting of nursing home deaths.
Earlier this month, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported that high aides to the governor pressured well being officials over the summer season to take away knowledge from a report that confirmed the variety of COVID-related nursing home deaths was larger than publicly acknowledged on the time.
The matter is reportedly below investigation by the FBI and the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office. Cuomo has admitted that issues “ought to have been completed in another way,” however stopped in need of issuing an apology for the fiasco.
At the time the preliminary order was in place — with the coronavirus quickly spreading all through New York City — Kraus says discovered his facility within the midst of the PPE scarcity, as “our suppliers [who] would usually ship us the PPE weren’t allowed to ship us our full order.”
“Why?” Hasnie requested.
“Because they have been guided, they need to promote to the hospital first,” Kraus mentioned. “So we have been rationed, if we’d order a big order, they might perhaps give us 20%. And they only mentioned they weren’t allowed to promote us extra.”
Faced with the difficult circumstances, Kraus says he then went along with his intestine and determined to lock down his facility for 10 weeks, not taking in any new admissions.
But that stance obtained pushback from native hospitals.
“We have been instructed, ‘Please don’t ship us your sick sufferers,'” Kraus mentioned. “There have been a number of hospitals that have been threatening.”
And Kraus says his facility wasn’t the one one pressured by hospitals to take coronavirus-positive sufferers.
“Threatened in what approach?” Hasnie requested him.
“Well, I imply, I by no means noticed the precise emails, however they have been threatened that they might be reported. For noncompliance,” Kraus responded.
Ultimately, Silver Lake reported two confirmed coronavirus deaths, six deaths off-site and 37 presumed coronavirus deaths.
Kraus additionally hailed his workers for his or her efforts all through the pandemic.
“I can say I communicate on behalf of the workers who typically really feel they’re doing a thankless job, however they are surely doing God’s work,” he instructed Fox News.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.