After Whitmer Ordered COVID Patients into Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care Facilities, Nearly 90% Did Not Get Required In-Person Visits from Oversight Team

LANSING, MI – The Michigan Freedom Fund today demanded answers from Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Health Department director Elizabeth Hertel after a new independent report claimed Whitmer failed to properly oversee nursing homes, did not comply with oversight law and failed to respond to complaints and concerns from struggling seniors after she deliberately ordered COVID patients into nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

“Most states fought to keep the virus out of nursing homes, but Governor Whitmer deliberately ordered COVID patients into homes full of seniors, failed to provide legally required oversight, refused to accurately track how many seniors died from her policy, and even bought the silence of the Health Department director responsible for implementing her orders,” said Michigan Freedom Fund executive director Tori Sachs. “Whitmer banned family members – the most vocal patient advocates – from these facilities, and her ombudsman, the last line of defense for patients, decided to not do their legally required job. The families who lost loved ones to this deadly, unscientific policy deserve answers, and the Whitmer administration must be held accountable for this brazen act of negligence.”

Whitmer in 2020 intentionally imported COVID-19 into the state’s long term care facilities against the advice of physicians and medical experts. According to a damning new report from the Michigan Office of Auditor General, her Long-Term Care Ombusdsman – the state officials tasked with overseeing nursing homes to ensure safety and healthy living conditions, who serve as patient advocates in these facilities – skipped out on legally required in-person visits to almost 90 percent of the state’s long term care facilities, even though in-person visits were specifically permitted in an executive order on June 30, 2020.

Additional troubling findings released yesterday include:

  • Hundreds of complaints from seniors are going actively unaddressed by Governor Whitmer.
  • 350 problem reports from ill seniors have gone unaddressed for an average of 95 days. 
  • 16 troubling reports from long-term care facility residents have been open for more than a year without a resolution.
  • The Whitmer administration failed to conduct required background checks on both employees and volunteers in the ombudsman program designed to protect elderly and infirm residents from sex offenders and individuals with other criminal records. 
  • Whitmer has failed to meet the legal standards of the Older Americans Actwhich requires residents receive “regular, timely, private, and unimpeded access to ombudsman services.”
  • 99.7 percent of the state’s homes for the aged did not receive a single required oversight visit between October 1, 2020 and April 15, 2021.

The Auditor General’s report follows separate findings in January that indicated Whitmer undercounted COVID deaths in Michigan nursing homes and long-term care facilities by roughly 30 percent. Whitmer also provided former Health Department director Robert Gordon with a $155,000 taxpayer-funded hush money payout, before later dropping the confidentiality agreement. Gordon has since been nominated by the Biden administration to be assistant secretary for financial resources within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is awaiting confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

The Michigan Freedom Fund works to advance conservative ideas, hold our government accountable to taxpayers, and protect Freedom, opportunity, and workers’ Constitutional rights. For more information, please visit