|“You can argue (seniors in nursing homes) are safer than a senior citizen at home, who is receiving care at home.”
— Governor Andrew Cuomo on “Meet The Press”, Sunday, June 30, 2020.
On Sunday, Governor Cuomo went on Meet The Press again and made the claim that nursing homes are safer than getting care at home. CDPAANYS Executive Director, Bryan O’Malley countered with a powerful statement on behalf of everyone around the state who uses, or who has risked her life to provide, CDPA or home care services:
“Governor Cuomo’s message that you are safer in a nursing home is wishful thinking, at best, and gross negligence, at worst. Throughout this pandemic, home care workers, whether personal care aides, home health aides, or personal assistants, have risked their lives and the lives of their families, often for minimum wage. Because these workers are going in and out of people’s homes to provide care, and not stationed at hospitals or nursing facilities, they have been overlooked for the adequate provision of masks, gloves, and other PPE. Yet people have managed and the fatalities of senior and disabled residents living at home, while not officially tallied, are low. Meanwhile, 25% of funding, or $42 million meant for wages for their home care workers, was cut in the middle of this pandemic.
Given the Governor’s failure to invest in community-based care, it is no wonder he believes that residents are safer in a facility than they are receiving care at home, but the numbers tell the real story. A report by the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State found that while people were generally scared that they or their personal assistant could contract COVID-19, a staggering 75% of people receiving home care through consumer-directed personal assistance were scared that the disease would force them into one of these facilities. Their fears are valid, when one out of every four COVID-19 confirmed deaths in NY occurred in nursing homes – and one out of three in the month of June. The statistics are even worse for Black, brown and immigrant New Yorkers.
As the Governor himself has said, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. We encourage the Governor to stick to the facts and not jeopardize the lives of seniors and people with disabilities by trying to create a false narrative about the safety of these institutions.”
Have you shared your story on how COVID-19 impacted you? Your story could help save lives!
We know the Governor’s statements aren’t true. It doesn’t matter if New York is 46th in the nation for COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, as he said in the interview, or 4th. We know there have been over 6,250 deaths in nursing homes from this deadly virus. While information in homes is not being tracked – we know that the death rate is not the same – it can’t be. If one person gets infected at home, she infects her worker – not the rest of an institution.
We also know that COVID-19 has paticularly been a death sentence for nursing homes and communities with heavy Black and Brown populations. We know that health disparities – a lack of lunderstanding of language and culture, along with a distrust of the medical system, is driving this. And we know that CDPA, not warehousing in nursing homes, can address this.
But, to highlight this, we need to hear from you about the impact COVID-19 has had on you, your workers, and your loved ones. Behind each number on a spreadsheet is a person. We want to tell the COVID success stories. PAs who have gone above and beyond during this crisis by working extra hours, risking their safety on public transportation, and even moving in with their consumer. We want to tell the stories of consumers who have had their services improve because of the ability to recruit and hire their own staff – staff guaranteed to speak their language and understand their culture.
By filling out this form, you are helping to tell reporters, policymakers, and the public that CDPA is the answer to crises like COVID-19 and the long-term impact of health disparities. Of course, we will always check with you before we share your story with others, but having them available is a critical part of our effort to #StrengthenCDPA.
By sharing your story, you can help make sure the tragedies we saw during the first wave are not repeated. You can be responsible for saving someone’s life.
Thank you for your commitment to our movement. It is YOUR action that drives change.