Pennsylvania House Republicans have announced they will seek an investigation into the Wolf administration’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes and long-term care facilities when the full House returns later this month.
Those lawmakers, led by House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre/Mifflin, said Monday they hope to get answers to their lingering questions as to why so many died and why the Pennsylvania Department of Health went down the path they did.
“Pennsylvanians and their families are left with only excuses or deflections from an administration that has been anything but transparent on this issue,” Benninghoff said.
The issue about the state’s guidelines to allow discharged hospital patients back into long-term care facilities has been raised almost from the beginning of the pandemic. But following a recent investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., by his state’s attorney general, and what house republicans say are new concerns raised in hearings in Harrisburg last week, they’re now taking this step.
It comes as a group of Republicans in the Pennsylvania Congregational delegation called for an investigation into the issue, in a statement Monday they said they thanked the members of the General Assembly for their actions.
The Republican group said they’re calling his bluff on that message.
One issue the GOP group said needs looked into is the state’s reporting policies. While Pennsylvania has accounted for all nursing home deaths regardless of where they died, a failure that is at the heart of the Cuomo probe, data from Pennsylvania nursing homes themselves have been slow or in some cases non-existent.
The GOP group highlighted that the health department admits about 15% of nursing homes are not complying with self-reporting data.
“This is the department that will send deputized agents from the Department of Agriculture to fine and shut down bars and restaurants who do not comply with their orders, but it will let facilities tasked with protecting our seniors slide,” said Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter.