The Justice Department is vastly expanding an inquiry that could determine whether New York is undercounting coronavirus deaths among nursing home residents.
The demand for data from hundreds of private facilities ratchets up pressure on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo after months of criticism that the state's official tally of 6,722 dead at long-term care facilities is probably undercounted by thousands.
That's because New York, unlike nearly every other state, counts only residents who died on a nursing home's property and not those who died after being taken to a hospital.
In June, Republican Southern Tier Rep. Tom Reed and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise called for an independent investigation of how five states, including New York, manage COVID-19 patients and nursing homes. They said Gov. Andrew Cuomo defied guidelines by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services when ordering nursing homes to take in patients who had tested positive for the virus.
A Cuomo spokesman called the request days a politically motivated "sham."