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New York comptroller report concurs with AG on undercounted nursing home deaths

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
Mike Groll
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

An audit by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found the state health department misled the public by undercounting the deaths of nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The audit found the health department under former Governor Andrew Cuomo undercounted deaths by as many as 4,100 between 2020 and 2021. And at times, it undercounted deaths by more than 50%.

The findings are similar to those in a January 2021 report by state Attorney General Letitia James.

Auditors said the miscounts under Cuomo inflated the “perception of New York’s performance against other states” during the pandemic.

It also found that the state still can’t provide a full list of residents who died. Health officials withheld documents and key personnel for questioning during the audit, and were slow to respond to surveys on infection control.

Cuomo resigned in August amid allegations that he sexually harassed multiple women. He denies wrongdoing.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.