Are we seeing a repeat here in Michigan of what is happening in New York, with Gov. Cuomo being dragged for his COVID-19 senior care facilities policies? Not yet exactly, but it sounds like some fat lady somewhere is tuning up.
Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido is moving forward with setting up the protocols for how the county will investigate any crimes that may have been committed in care facilities over the past year. Lucido is a former State Senator and just was elected to the prosecutor’s job earlier this year. Whitmer, who is a Democrat, has accused Lucido, a Republican, of playing politics with this initiative. Her office released this statement days ago…
“Our top priority from the start has been protecting Michiganders, especially seniors and our most vulnerable. The administration’s policies carefully tracked CDC guidance on nursing homes, and we prioritized testing of nursing home residents and staff to save lives. Early in the pandemic, the state acted swiftly to create a network of regional hubs with isolation units and adequate PPE to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within a facility. In addition, we have offered 100 percent of nursing home residents priority access to the vaccine. Both the former head of AARP, as well as an independent U-M study, praised our work to save lives in nursing homes.
“Even his (Lucido’s) former colleague, Republican Sen. Ed McBroom, has said they ‘have not seen any evidence or testimony that says that a nursing home was forced to take someone against their will.’ And there’s a reason why Mr. Lucido’s colleagues have publicly rebuked this politically-motivated waste of taxpayer dollars. Michiganders are tired of these petty partisan games, and we won’t be distracted by them either.”
That has not stopped the top lawyer in Macomb County from pursuing this issue and yesterday, in a press conference in Mt Clemens Michigan, he laid out how his office would handle any complaints and revealed they have already received “hundreds.”
Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido has launched an initiative to make it easier for individuals to submit potential criminal complaints against the state or Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for deaths related to the placement of COVID-19 patients in nursing homes.
Lucido said at a news conference Thursday he and his office has received “hundreds” of informal complaints from relatives of those who have died in a nursing home or have suffered permanent health ailments after they were moved from a facility where they sought care into a “hub” nursing home. Criminal complaints have been filed in with police in Warren and Shelby Township, he added.
Lucido, a Republican, said he is not “going after anyone, never have,” in response to Democrat Whitmer calling his efforts “shameful political attacks based in neither fact nor reality.”
“I am seeking the truth because the families of lost loved ones deserve to know the truth,” Lucido said. “Those seniors have died without their loved ones holding their hand. I want to stop all the calls, all the heartache.”
He added: “If anyone thinks they’re above the law in (t)his administration, think again.”
Lucido has been an outspoken elected official and is also an ardent Donald Trump supporter. He seems to be moving full steam ahead to follow any cases that could possibly be considered criminal that have happened in the county, and if his history is any indication, he will not be deterred. His office has already reported that the police have been contacted in Warren, Michigan (the 3rd largest city in the state) and his hometown of Shelby Township.
If the State of Michigan did follow a carbon copy of the care facility policy that New York employed up until the middle of last year, there might be a lot of cases to look at here. Michigan, as of today, has not altered the policy they adopted last year much, if at all. Also, the Whitmer administration is now facing a lawsuit to respond to a FOIA request to release the numbers on COVID-related deaths in nursing homes.
The Governor is up for reelection in just 17 months and if things keep going this way for her, she has a bumpy road ahead.