While Attorney General (AG) Xavier Becerra is being asked to investigate state actions that led to coronavirus patients being placed in nursing homes with the elderly, a peace and social justice advocate is organizing grassroots efforts to hold Gov. Newsom accountable for the 2,804 nursing home residents who have since died of COVID-19, which is 40% of the overall deaths statewide.
“The establishment rarely holds the establishment accountable and since I’ve been pushing for accountability, it hasn’t happened but we can’t give up on our efforts because that means all these unnecessary deaths will have been in vain and will be forgotten,” said Cindy Sheehan, founder of Justice for COVID-19 Eldercide.
Sheehan’s organization blames the deaths of Gray Lives, also known as the aging population, on Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health for allegedly mandating coronavirus patients be placed in nursing homes.
“As a result, the residents of skilled nursing facilities can’t have visitors,” Sheehan told the Southern California Record. “They can’t have an advocate visit them. They used to get regular visits from social workers, advocates and family members and that’s not even happening. We want this investigated and we want people held accountable for the eldercide that happened.”
The Justice for COVID-19 Eldercide isn’t alone in demanding answers. Republicans from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus issued letters to Becerra as well as four other Democratic AGs in New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, questioning why nursing homes were forced to take in individuals with coronavirus.
“We write seeking information, at a granular level, about the science and information used to inform your decision to mandate nursing homes and long-term care facilities admit untested and contagious COVID-19 patients from hospitals. This decision likely contributed to the thousands of elderly deaths in California,” wrote State Rep. Steve Scalise, ranking member of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus.
The California Department of Public Health issued the guidance on March 30, according to Scalise’s June 15, 2020 letter.
“We would like to know why this policy was put into effect when staff were being furloughed from hospitals and why were regulations on visitors tightened up while standards were loosened and these are standards of care at some nursing homes that were already not that great,” said Sheehan who lives in Solano. “And why is the policy continuing?”
Additionally, nursing homes were paid to house COVID-19 patients, according to Scalise’s scathing letter to Gov. Newsom.
“You even provided a monetary incentive or bribe to nursing homes offering $1,000 per day per patient to a facility willing to take in COVID-19 positive patients. According to the California Association of Long-Term Care Medicine, this move “ma[de] no sense,” Scalise wrote.
As of July 16, coronavirus cases have risen to 347,634 statewide and deaths to 7,227, according to California’s COVID-19 dashboard.
“The state of California could have done this on purpose to increase the number of COVID-19 cases,” Sheehan said. “Secondly, it could have been to save money on pensions, social security and health care because the state pays for residents to be put in skilled nursing facilities after their retirement money runs out.”
Sheehan’s group plans to deliver petitions and letters to governors and attorneys general at statehouses and Capitol buildings in 8 states as well as hosting op-ed letter-writing campaigns.
Crossposted from Southern California Record. Read the original article here.