Whitmer admin significantly undercounted Michigan nursing home COVID deaths, state auditor finds

Posted 10 days ago

From WWW.FOXNEWS.COM

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's administration undercounted the COVID-19 deaths in the state's long-term care facilities by 30%, according to a state auditor general report reviewed by Fox News.

The report, which is expected to be publicly released on Monday, is likely to renew criticism of the Democratic governor's performance during the pandemic.

Michigan state Rep. Steven Johnson, a Republican, told Fox News Digital in a Thursday phone call that Whitmer is "well known" for her executive order "to place COVID-positive patients into nursing homes."

"And when we were looking into this to see just how deadly that policy was, the nursing home death numbers we received from the department weren’t including everything," Johnson said, confirming the number in the report was 30%.

Johnson said there are "some serious questions that have to be asked" about the alleged undercounting and that "it does appear the people of Michigan were misled as to just how many nursing home deaths there were" due to Whitmer’s policies.

"Seeing that it’s actually 30% higher is quite significant — we’re talking about thousands of lives that were not initially included in the department’s count," Johnson continued.

The Michigan House Oversight Committee chairman also said that the committee "plans to hold hearings on this in the near future."

Elizabeth Hertel, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, claimed the auditor general’s report was inaccurate due to the analysis not using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of a long-term facility COVID death.

"A reportable long-term care COVID-19 death is defined by the National Healthcare Safety Network as a resident who died from COVID-19 related complications and includes resident deaths in the facility, and in other locations in which the resident with COVID-19 was transferred to receive treatment," Hertel wrote.

"Residents not expected to return to the long-term care facility are excluded from the count. MDHHS has always required long-term care COVID-19 deaths be reported consistent with this standard set by the federal government," she continued.

The number could be higher, however, with some reporters saying the number of undercounted deaths could be north of 40%.

"Three in 10 [bodies] went uncounted, according to the auditor general," journalist Charlie LeDuff told Fox News Digital in a Thursday email. "When added to the state's total, death in Michigan's long-term care facilities are in fact 42% higher than are being reported, which makes Whitmer's Michigan no better than Cuomo's New York."

"To call this report a partisan hit job is at the very least despicable," he continued. "The Whitmer Administration should be t... (Read more)