Whitmer Admin Defends Deadly Nursing Home Policy
While MDHHS Director Hertel Argues Semantics, Thousands of Michiganders Still Died
LANSING, MI – The Michigan Freedom Fund repeated their demand today for a thorough investigation of Governor Whitmer’s order that placed COVID positive patients in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, in defiance of the science, over the objection of the state’s nursing home association, and even her fellow Democrats.
At a joint Oversight Committee hearing today, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) director Elizabeth Hertel repeatedly deflected and refused any responsibility to investigate the consequences of Governor Whitmer’s deadly policy, after the Auditor General’s report indicated the Whitmer administration had underreported COVID deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities by as much as 42 percent.
“Thousands of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents died, but all the state’s health director seems to be concerned with is providing political cover for Governor Whitmer,” said Tori Sachs, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund. “We haven’t seen politicians argue semantics like this since President Clinton waffled over the definition of the word ‘is.’”
“It’s clear that Governor Whitmer and her administration are not interested in providing answers to any of the families who lost loved ones in nursing homes and long-term care facilities as a result of Whitmer’s unscientific orders. It’s time for a full investigation, so that these families can finally receive justice.”
Michigan Freedom Fund Chairman Greg McNeilly wrote in The Detroit News: Whitmer administration hid COVID-19 nursing home deaths. What else?
“In perhaps the worst-quality spin in the state’s entire political history, Whitmer’s team counters that their numbers weren’t wrong — it’s just that they weren’t counting everyone who died in nursing homes or after contracting the virus in nursing homes.
“They blast the auditor general for including nursing home deaths in their tally of nursing home deaths as if the inclusion of nursing home deaths in the nursing home death tally will hurt the governor politically.
“Only this governor could take a cataclysmic tragedy and complain that it makes her look bad.”
Michigan and New York were some of the only states that implemented the disastrous policy that placed COVID patients in nursing homes. Just like New York, Michigan undercounted the number of residents who died as a result of that policy. Hertel’s predecessor, Robert Gordon, departed the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services with a $155,000 taxpayer-funded hush money payout and then was nominated by Joe Biden to become an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Gordon has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the position.