LANSING, Mich. – A group of Michigan lawmakers is demanding Gov. Gretchen Whitmer change the controversial policy that puts coronavirus (COVID-19) patients in nursing homes with healthy residents.
States such as New York have already reversed their similar policies, and lawmakers want to know why Michigan hasn’t done so.
The state of Michigan is spending about $40,000 each day to convert the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi into a field hospital for COVID-19 patients. But the field hospital hasn’t been used for nursing home patients, and House Republicans are wondering why.
Gathering across the street from the showcase, half a dozen Republican representatives said Whitmer’s regional hub and nursing home strategy has left hundreds of nursing home patients dead.
“Tragically, the bad policy on nursing homes was fatal to many of the most vulnerable members of our communities, and the people put in harms way and their families by the policy are not expendable,” Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Lenawee County) said. “These are grandmothers and grandfathers, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and they’re being put in danger and all too often forced to die alone and afraid.”
Republicans are asking Whitmer why she isn’t doing what other states have done in abandoning the controversial policy.
“Our vulnerable seniors deserve better,” Kahle said.
“The governor is committed to working with anyone on solutions to keep our seniors safe,” Whitmer’s office said in a statement. “But instead of working with the governor, Republicans in Lansing are suing to take away her emergency powers, which will make it harder to protect our seniors as we battle COVID-19. It’s time for Republicans to stop the political games and start working with the governor on real, long-term solutions to protect patients and workers at Michigan’s long-term care facilities.”
One of the things Whitmer’s office pointed out in her new order is the COVID-19 positive patients are only being discharged from hospitals to facilities that are capable of safely isolating the residents.
But the argument is that that’s often not possible, and there are still COVID-19 positive patients in the same facilities.
As for the showcase, it’s been deemed not adequate as a long-term care facility.