Michigan’s Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer may soon be forced to turn over documents relating to her administration’s COVID-19 nursing home policy. On Thursday, the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee voted to subpoena nursing home records from the state’s health department, the Detroit News reported, in an effort to get a clearer picture of how Whitmer’s policies impacted the COVID-19 death rate in Michigan adult and long-term care facilities.
“Oversight Chairman Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, said he had requested documents from the Department of Health and Human Services on March 2, but two months later, officials hadn’t released any records to him,” the Detroit News noted. “McBroom said he’s looking for communications among state health department employees about policies for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Whitmer administration reportedly had a policy similar to that of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who required that nursing and other adult and long-term care facilities accept patients recovering from COVID-19, even if those patients remained contagious or still tested positive for the virus. The policy in New York may have led to tens of thousands of coronavirus-related deaths.
Journalist Charlie LeDuff announced last month that he and others were “suing the state of Michigan to release information regarding Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order that funneled nursing home residents hospitalized with COVID-19 back into nursing homes,” information, LeDuff claimed, Whitmer “is hiding from the public.”
“According to state data, 5,712 COVID-19 deaths in Michigan have been either residents or staff of long-term care facilities, equaling about 31% of the statewide virus-linked deaths,” the Detroit News reported, adding that the state had ordered “regional hubs” — nursing home specially equipped to handle returning patients who needed to be isolated — to operate during the pandemic to keep potentially contagious patients away from vulnerable nursing home residents.