Nursing homes in Michigan undercounted the number of their residents who died of COVID-19 between the beginning of the pandemic and July 2021 by more than 40%, according to a report issued by the state’s Auditor General.
Steve Delie, director of transparency and open government at the free-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said it appears that the state hasn’t accurately tracked long-term care resident deaths.
“It is likely that the report will confirm what we have found through our own investigation,” Delie said in a statement to the The Center Square.
“Namely, that the state failed to comprehensively and accurately measure the number of deaths among our most vulnerable populations. It’s a tragedy that more of our elderly residents have died than previously accounted for, and that Michiganders were not able to fully assess the true risks COVID-19 presented to them. We hope that the auditor general’s report will lead to accountability and ensure that we address pandemics differently in the future.”
Michigan nursing homes self-reported to the state Department of Health and Human Services 5,675 resident deaths due to COVID-19 during the first year-and-a-half of the pandemic, according to the report, which was reviewed by the Daily Caller ahead of its Monday release.
However, the Office of the Auditor General identified an additional 2,386 nursing home and long-term care facility residents who died of the virus between those dates. The report was compiled at the request of state Rep. Steven Johnson, who described the Auditor General’s findings as “very troubling.”
“This was important information to gather for those throughout our state who have loved ones and relatives in nursing homes and are scared, and sadly those who lost friends and family to COVID-19 while inside of a nursing home or other long-term care facilities,” Johnson said in a statement.
“Our committee will continue to look at why there was this discrepancy, as well as what changes are needed to ensure future reporting reflects precision instead of polling numbers. We have now seen the true scope of Gov. Whitmer’s disastrous policies, and we must ensure these tragic circumstances do not happen again.”
“The number reported by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration was 30 percent lower than what the Auditor General has found. Make no mistake, this is a large discrepancy, and the report makes that clear,” Johnson went onto say.