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NY Supreme Court rules NYSDOH must release nursing home death data to Empire Center

Howard A. Zucker
Posted at 11:07 AM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 11:07:07-05

NEW YORK (WKBW) — A report by New York State Attorney General Letitia James which found serious fault with the way nursing homes in the state handled the COVID-19 pandemic was released January 28.

Following the release of that report, the Empire Center renewed its Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request asking the New York State Department of Health for data on nursing home resident deaths by date and facility. The Empire Center says it originally filed its FOIL request for the data on August 3, 2020.

After its renewed push, the Empire Center says NYS Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O’Connor ruled February 3 that NYSDOH has five business days to provide the requested records and compensate the Empire Center and its legal counsel for the litigation expenses.

“We hope Justice O’Connor’s unequivocal ruling finally pushes the Cuomo administration to do the right thing,” said Bill Hammond, senior fellow for health policy at the Empire Center. “The people of New York—especially those who have lost loved ones in nursing homes—have waited much too long to see this clearly public information about one of the worst disasters in state history.”

The Empire Center says NYSDOH has postponed responding to the FOIL request three times, most recently until March 22.