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Republican legislators asking AG's office to investigate state's COVID nursing home policies


Republican state lawmakers are raising questions about the Democratic governor’s policies concerning COVID-19 and Michigan’s long-term care and nursing homes.

Since the outbreak began a year ago, about a third of Michigan's 15,453 coronavirus-related deaths were people in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.Eight Republican state senators are asking Michigan’s Democratic Attorney General to investigate the state’s COVID-19 pandemic policy for nursing homes. The group is also making a similar request to the U.S. Justice Department.  

The lawmakers want to see if Governor Gretchen Whitmer's policies were in compliance with CDC guidelines, if the policies may have contributed to the spread of the virus among nursing home residents and if the Whitmer administration accurately reported the data.

The governor's office issued a written statement calling the request a "shameful political" attack.

“Our administration’s policies carefully tracked CDC guidance on nursing homes and we prioritized testing of nursing home residents and staff to reduce spread and save lives. In addition, every nursing home resident has had priority access to the vaccine. Moreover, Michigan has been a leader in reporting data, including providing everything requested by the federal government last Fall. There’s a reason the former head of AARP, as well as an independent U-M study, praised our work to save lives in nursing homes.”

But State Senator Jim Runestad (R-White Lake), one of the senators who sent the letter, insists this is not a partisan issue.

“These patients are not, you know, partisan patients,” says Runestad. “They are just citizens of the state and they have loved ones who asking for answers.”

About a third of Michigan's COVID deaths were people in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

On Thursday, state House committees held hearings into the Whitmer administration’s coronavirus policies on allowing family visitation and other issues regarding Michigan’s nursing homes.   

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.