WASHINGTON — Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) recently joined other members of the Pennsylvania Republican Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro asking for a report on guidance issued by the state Department of Health that called for admittance of COVID-19 positive individuals in long-term care facilities.

Congressmen Dan Meuser (PA-09), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15), Mike Kelly (PA-16), Scott Perry (PA-10), Lloyd Smucker (PA-11), John Joyce (PA-13) and Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) also signed the letter, which referenced the findings of a report by the New York Attorney General’s office that concluded nursing home fatalities were undercounted by up to 50 percent in the state.

“Last March, the Pennsylvania Department of Health issued guidance requiring nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients,” Keller said. “Today, more than half of the state’s COVID fatalities have occurred in nursing homes. Pennsylvanians have every right to be concerned about the effects of the Wolf Administration’s policies regarding these facilities.”

Keller believes the issue needs to be thoroughly investigated.

“After the shocking revelation of Governor Cuomo’s failed nursing home cover-up, I join my colleagues in urging AG Shapiro to conduct a similar investigation into the policies that put Pennsylvania seniors living in long-term care facilities at risk,” Keller said.

The letter sent to Shapiro can be seen in its entirety below:

“Dear Attorney General Shapiro,

As you may have seen, the Attorney General of New York recently released a report on their office’s ongoing investigation related to nursing homes and their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most troubling revelations of this report is that COVID-19 nursing home fatalities were undercounted by roughly 50 percent in New York State.

One of the primary causes of the large number of nursing home fatalities in New York was the state government’s order that nursing homes admit COVID-19 positive individuals. The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) issued a similar guidance on March 18, 2020, requiring that nursing homes allow new admissions and re-admissions, including individuals that had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Public reporting from PA DOH indicates that more than half of the COVID-19 related deaths in Pennsylvania have been attributable to nursing and personal home care populations.

We have heard from many Pennsylvanians that are concerned with the state policies that put nursing and personal care home facility residents at risk. Does your office plan to offer a similar report as the New York State Attorney General’s office? What is your plan to ensure that all publicly available information on this important topic is reliable and accurate?

Please contact us if we can be helpful in any way.”

Pat McDonald can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 228 or editor@morning-times.com. Follow Managing Editor Pat McDonald on Twitter @PatMcDonaldMT.

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