Ms. James’s report forced the state’s health department to make public more than 3,800 previously unreported deaths of residents who died outside a facility, like in a hospital, and had not been included in the state’s official nursing home tally.
Since then, the number of deaths connected to New York nursing homes and long-term care facilities has only ballooned, to about 15,000 confirmed and presumed deaths, from 12,743 in late January, as of this week.
The administration released the latest figures in response to a court order after a six-month battle between the Cuomo administration and the Empire Center, a conservative-leaning think tank, which requested a full accounting of nursing home deaths under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.
The virtual meeting this week between Ms. DeRosa and other senior administration officials, including Mr. Cuomo’s health commissioner and budget director, and top Democratic state lawmakers was intended to bridge a growing rift between the governor’s office and the Legislature.
In hearings in early August, legislators repeatedly questioned the state health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, on the full extent of deaths linked to nursing homes. They were unsatisfied with Mr. Zucker’s failure to disclose the number of resident deaths outside nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
“I’m not prepared to give you a specific number,” Dr. Zucker told state lawmakers at the time. “We are looking at all the numbers, we are looking at the data, when the data comes in and I have an opportunity to piece through that, then I will be happy to provide that data to you and to the other members of the committee.”
A few weeks later, on Aug. 20, the State Senate and Assembly formally wrote to the health department requesting those figures, as well as additional information.