DETROIT – Michigan’s Auditor General’s Office announced it would study the reported and unreported deaths in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
The office said it will be a study, rather than a formal audit, and will have different standards and results.
It’s the latest step in the effort to better understand what went on inside Michigan’s nursing homes and if the state knowingly undercounted COVID deaths
Auditor General Doug Ringler’s office said they will look into how COVID deaths were reported and tracked using data from different state departments.
The announcement of the study comes almost a month after a letter from the State House Oversight Committee chair asked for answers regarding the state’s process, whether nursing homes are reporting death numbers accurately and, most importantly, whether the state’s count is correct.
The study is also being seized on by opponents of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. State GOP members have long criticized her COVID policies, frequently trying to tie Michigan’s policies to the scandal in New York, where the Governor’s Office was found to be hiding nursing home deaths.
A representative from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said the department welcomes the review.
“From day one, we followed the best data and science from the CDC to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect Michiganders, including vulnerable residents in long-term-care facilities,” the representative said.
The Auditor General’s Office said because of the kind of review they’ll have to do and the sheer amount of data, they expect the study to take several months with the final results coming in late September or early October.
When reached for a comment, the Governor’s Office directed Local 4 to MDHHS. In the past, Whitmer said she stands by her policies over the course of the pandemic and has pointed to studies and experts who have also backed her decisions, including allowing COVID positive patients into long-term care facilities.
READ: How many COVID-related deaths occurred in Michigan nursing homes? Lawmakers, families want answers