Michigan’s policy of housing COVID-19 nursing home patients with uninfected patients comes under scrutiny

Emergency Order created ‘regional hubs’

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s emergency policy of housing positive coronavirus (COVID-19) nursing home patients in nursing homes with COVID-19 negative patients is coming under scrutiny in Lansing.

READ: Detroit lawmaker critical of Gov. Whitmer’s nursing home executive order

The Senate COVID-19 oversight committee had many questions for the Health and Human Services Department about Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Emergency Order.

The order creates what they’re calling “regional hubs” and expires on Wednesday. Many members of the senate oversight committee are calling for the governor to change the policy -- calling it an extraordinarily bad policy.

MORE: Michigan lawmakers discuss executive order to move COVID-19 positive seniors to ‘regional hubs’

The Department of Health and Human Services gave Local 4 more insight into its regional hub system. There are now 21 of them. The state is paying these homes $5,000 per COVID-19 positive case they take.

We also learned that there are some nursing homes taking these patients that do not have the same strict separation policies that regional hubs are required to have. Only about half of the state’s nursing homes have been inspected since the policy went into effect last month.

HHS Director Robert Gordon originally intended to use the TCF Center instead of the regional hubs -- but then opted out. Detroit State Rep. Leslie Love is stunned that didn’t happen.

“They said the population that would be most affected was our seniors so to not outfit those facilities to handle the very population they said would need it seems ridiculous to me,” she said."

State Rep. Pete Lucido is furious.

“I’m appalled of the fact somebody wasn’t at each of these facilities before any COVID-19 patients entered these facilities to possibly infect others," Lucido said. How many were infected by bringing COVID-19 to the most vulnerable people in the state?”

Local 4 has reached out to Whitmer’s office about whether the Executive Order will be renewed and if there will be any changes to it.

Whitmer’s office has defended its decision to use regional hubs even though New York just changed its similar policy to not allowing nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients.

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