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As COVID-19 cases climb inside nursing homes Cuomo changes admission rules

Now, facilities barred from accepting COVID+ patients discharged from hospitals

EAST AURORA, N.Y. — A state mandate on nursing homes that all but required them to accept coronavirus patients from hospitals has been changed.

“Hospitals, going forward, cannot discharge a patient to a nursing home unless the patient tests negative for COVID-19,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

But for six-plus weeks, as the coronavirus spread, the near-opposite was true. Back on March 25, the New York State Health Department issued new rules for nursing homes: “No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to the nursing home based solely on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.”

A nursing home could not even ask for a test prior to admitting someone discharged from a hospital.

It was a mandate that worried nursing home operators, who did not like the idea of adding COVID-19 positive residents in facilities full of senior citizens who are the most vulnerable to the virus.

In an April 17 interview, Joyce Markiewicz, senior vice-president at Catholic Health said, “Initially, we were not taking these individuals back. It was a big concern to us.”

Instead, a month ago, Catholic Health partnered with The McGuire Group to hastily create a COVID-only nursing facility in Orchard Park: St. Joseph’s Post-Acute Center. The current capacity of the facility is 80 beds.

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