Macomb County prosecutor calls for committee to review nursing home deaths

Nursing home policy a point of contention

Macomb County prosecutor calls for panel to review COVID-19 nursing home deaths

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – Macomb County prosecutor and former Michigan House Rep. Pete Lucido said his office is flooded with calls from families who said their perfectly-health loved-ones died in nursing homes.

READ: Michigan AG looks into requests to investigate state nursing home policy

He said they’ve told him they are unable to get any answers from nursing homes or from the state about what has happened.

Some believe their deaths may have been connected to a nursing home policy put in place by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initially, patients who tested positive for COVID were placed in the same facility with patients who did not have COVID. Whitmer ended that practice after the first six months of the pandemic.

READ: Daughter shares the struggle she faced while her elderly mother was in a care center during COVID-19 pandemic

“She acted alone without legislators,” Lucido said.

Lucido is urging Michigan residents who lost a loved one to make a police report. He said he is forming a board to review each case.

The reviews could result in possible criminal charges -- ranging from misconduct in office from the governor down to the local level, if records were altered.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represents nearly 2 million service workers. They protested the claims and said they saw first-hand that the orders saved lives.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said that nursing home patients who were transferred to the hospital and then died would be counted as a nursing home death -- if they had not been discharged from the care facility.

READ: Michigan Gov. Whitmer stands by COVID nursing home policy amid threats of legal action

READ: Coronavirus death toll at neighboring care facilities in Metro Detroit may be worst in US

Report: Michigan’s COVID-19 nursing home ‘hub’ plan was ‘logical and appropriate’ response

Last year, a report found that Michigan’s plan to create “hubs” for nursing home residents with COVID-19 was “logical and appropriate,” and found no significant evidence of transmission of the virus between patients and residents.

The report, released by the Center for Health and Research Transformation (CHRT), evaluated the state’s regional nursing home hub strategy, comparing the approach to outcomes in other states. CHRT is a University of Michigan affiliated nonprofit.

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.