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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma fired back at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday after he claimed last week to be following "what the Republican administration said to do" when he ordered nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients who had been discharged from hospitals.
Verma told "The Brian Kilmeade Show" on Fox News Radio that neither she nor Trump instructed governors to place infected patients back in their original nursing home setting.
"President Trump took very early actions when it came to nursing homes," Verma said. "We prohibited visitors [and] put out guidance to both nursing homes and states."
Cuomo claimed Saturday that New York's original nursing home policy was in line with a March 13 directive from CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that says "nursing homes should admit any individuals that they would normally admit to their facility, including individuals from hospitals where a case of COVID-19 was/is present."
"What New York did was follow what the Republican administration said to do," Cuomo said. "That's not my attempt to politicize it. It's my attempt to depoliticize it. So don't criticize the state for following the president's policy."
In another clip Kilmeade played for Verma, Cuomo told reporters that one facility "should have referred that [COVID-positive] patient and should have told the Department of Health 'I can't take that patient'."
"The issue the governor is bringing up -- which I disagree with -- is that somehow federal guidance said you should put people who are COVID-positive in the nursing home," Verma responded.
"Yes, a nursing home will have COVID-positive people," she added, emphasizing that coronavirus patients can return to nursing homes if a particular facility is properly prepared.
Verma stated that federal policy is, in the event that a nursing home resident infected with coronavirus cannot return to that facility, the government will subsidize that patient's continued stay in the hospital as if they are back in their personal care facility.
"Under no circumstances should a hospital discharge a patient to a nursing home that is not prepared to take care of those patients' needs."
As of Wednesday, New York state officials reported that 6,035 residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities had died of COVID-19. However, that tally does not include deaths that occurred outside of nursing homes or long-term care facilities, such as at a hospital.