August 17, 2020

USA: Michigan Marxist Democrat Governor Whitmer Just Vetoed A Bill That Would STOP SENDING Patients INFECTED WITH COVID19 To Nursing Homes To Protect The Vulnerable Elderly Living There.

The Detroit News
written by Craig Mauger
Friday July 1, 2020

Lansing — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed Friday a bill from the GOP-controlled Legislature that would have shifted elderly people with COVID-19 away from nursing homes and into entirely separate facilities.

The bill was a direct challenge to the Whitmer administration's current handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has focused on caring for those with the virus in isolated spaces of existing homes.

In a letter explaining her veto, the Democratic governor said the bill, sponsored by Sen. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, was based on "the false premise that isolation units created within existing facilities are somehow insufficient to protect seniors."

"Instead of protecting seniors, this bill would require the state to create COVID-19-only facilities, forcing hospitals and many nursing homes to send COVID-19-positive patients to such facilities without any requirement for consent, doctor approval or notification to the patient or their family," Whitmer added. "The legislation fails to explain how such facilities would be staffed or paid for, or how frail residents would be protected during the potentially traumatic transfer from one facility to another."

The governor's handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes has been a target of Republican criticism. About 33% of the state's deaths linked to the virus have been nursing home residents or employees, according to state data.

Every state with coronavirus nursing home guidelines like those of the Whitmer administration has since shifted to a policy similar to what Republicans proposed, Lucido said Friday.

“I am very disappointed and saddened that the governor vetoed this extremely important and commonsense legislation,” the Republican senator said in a statement. “Politics should not prevail over the health and safety of our seniors and health care workers, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate and House to consider passing a veto override. We owe this to our citizens, especially the seniors and vulnerable members of our communities who cannot speak for themsevles.”

Earlier this month, a Detroit News review of inspection reports for the 45 nursing homes with the most deaths linked to COVID-19 found that nearly half had been cited in the last four months for failing to follow infection control, isolation or staffing policies.

In April, Whitmer's administration created regional hubs — 21 nursing homes that are supposed to have the equipment and capacity to care for those with COVID-19 in separate areas from residents without the virus. The hubs can receive stable COVID-19 patients being discharged from hospitals and residents from other facilities not capable of properly caring for them.

But critics, such as Lucido, have argued that the policy has spurred the spread of COVID-19 within vulnerable populations as some nursing homes have struggled to isolate infected residents inside their buildings. Lucido has referenced the Whitmer administration's paying regional hubs $5,000 per bed in the program and $200 per day for occupied beds.

"They incentivized bringing COVID patients into nursing homes," Lucido has said. "They sweetened the deal."
The bill, which Whitmer vetoed, passed the Senate 24-13 and the House 74-34. In the House, 17 Democrats joined Republicans in support.

It would have banned nursing homes from admitting or retaining an individual starting Sept. 1 who tests positive for COVID-19 unless the person had recovered or unless a nursing home could provide care in a separate building.

Nursing homes unable to provide care in a separate building would need to move the resident to a field hospital, a facility used during a hospital's surge capacity or a "dedicated facility." The policy would apply only to those individuals inadmissible to a hospital.

The departments of Health and Human Services and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs would have had to create at least one "dedicated facility" per the state's eight health care regions by Sept. 1.

Whitmer labeled the bill inadequate and said the Michigan Senior Advocates Council asked her to veto it because it “lacks clarity, provides an unrealistic timeline and fails to offer critical details to ensuring quality of care."

In June, the governor established the Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force. The group will recommend an action plan on how to prepare nursing homes for a future wave of COVID-19 cases by Aug. 31.

Lucido said he hopes the Legislature overrides Whitmer's veto, which would require two-thirds support in the House and Senate.

The GOP lawmaker said constituents will want to see their representatives support the override. "I fear for those who don’t say yes to the override," Lucido added.
The Detroit News
written by Tim Walberg and Steve Scalise
Saturday June 27, 2020

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has attempted to shield any criticism of her decision-making by repeatedly claiming to rely on the best data and science.

Except too often that data is kept under lock and key. And when you dig deeper into the myriad executive orders, a science-based rationale typically turns out to be lacking. Whitmer’s executive order on nursing homes is a case in point.

Under this mandate, some nursing homes in Michigan were forced to admit COVID-19 patients back into their facilities. As a result, thousands of elderly residents were needlessly put at risk.

From the outset of this pandemic scientists and health care professionals have told us that seniors were disproportionately vulnerable to this virus. As recently became public, just days after the first case hit Michigan the head of the state’s leading nursing home association wrote Whitmer with an alternative proposal that recommended against returning infected patients to nursing homes. The governor ignored this expert advice.

In doing so Michigan became one of only five states to pursue this misguided policy. Why was Michigan such an outlier at a time when most states reviewed the science and acted accordingly to protect vulnerable seniors? What’s more, why did it take so long for the governor to reverse course after it became indefensible to send such a lethal virus into nursing homes? These are questions Whitmer has yet to answer.

Months later, we still don’t know the totality of the harm this decision has caused. The data released by the state has been slow, incomplete and filled with discrepancies. Greater transparency is necessary.

What we do know is there have been at least 1,947 deaths among individuals who lived in nursing homes. That is more than 30% of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths. Tragically, that number is likely higher. For starters, it does not factor in deaths in places like assisted living facilities around the state. Moreover, in one Detroit-area nursing home the state is reporting zero deaths, while the city says the death toll is 18. Examples like this call into question the reliability of the state’s data.

After all this, it’s no wonder criticism of Whitmer’s executive order has been bipartisan. Democratic state Rep. Leslie Love called it “an epic fail” and the “most idiotic thing we could come up with.” More Democrats in the Michigan legislature recently voted for a resolution calling for an end to this policy.

As members of Congress, we have asked Whitmer to provide documentation explaining her decision in a congressional hearing and in a letter sent through the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Each time, she has stonewalled these requests. We will not stop asking.

The people of Michigan need answers. The families who lost loved ones deserve accountability. And policymakers should better understand what went wrong to learn from and prevent such fatal outcomes in the future.

It’s time for Whitmer to take responsibility for the consequences of her nursing home order, and own up to the fact that the science was simply not on her side. Seniors’ lives are depending on it.
Fox17 News, West Michigan local
Michigan lawmakers reach agreement on Return to Learn plan for fall school
written by Staff
Friday August 14, 2020

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and state legislative leaders have announced an agreement to get students back to school this fall.

It comes ahead of a weekend legislative session where lawmakers are set to debate several education-related bills.

According to lawmakers, the agreement allows the school districts to determine the best course of action for their students, including online, in person, or hybrid instruction, based on information from their local health departments.

They released the following statement about the deal:

"Today, we reached a bipartisan deal that will give students, parents, educators, and support staff much needed support, flexibility, and certainty as we approach the new school year. They deserve peace of mind about what the next few months will hold in store, and this legislation will provide it."

Officials also released the following document outlining the agreement;


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