DOJ declines to investigate Pennsylvania's COVID-19 nursing home regulations

DOJ declines to investigate Pennsylvania's COVID-19 nursing home regulations
© Greg Nash

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday said it will not open an investigation into Pennsylvania's handling of COVID-19 patients at nursing homes, The Associated Press reports.

The DOJ told Gov. Tom WolfTom WolfPennsylvania GOP authorizes subpoenas in election probe Former US attorney enters race for governor in Pennsylvania Harris in Shanksville honors heroism, courage of Flight 93 passengers MORE's (D) office in a letter that it would not look further into whether the state's pandemic mandate, which stipulated that nursing homes had to admit residents who had been treated for COVID-19 at a hospital, was a violation of federal law.

In the letter, Steven H. Rosenbaum, chief of the department’s special litigation section, said the department had made the decision to not press further after reviewing additional information regarding the mandate.

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Last year, the DOJ told the governors of Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey and New York that the department would be looking into their policies to see if they "may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents," the AP notes.

Many criticized the orders, claiming they expedited the spread of the disease in retirement homes, which surged in 2020 amid the pandemic. So far, however, it has not been proven that the orders directly resulted in death or outbreak in any facilities, according to the AP.

Michigan also received a notice announcing the DOJ's decision to not proceed with the investigations, according to the Detroit Free Press.