Skubick: MI GOP grills Democrats over nursing home deaths

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – In Michigan here’s what we know for sure: between March 1 and June 30 of last year, there were 648 nursing home deaths – or a rate of about 44%.

But the Mackinac Center speculates before the House Oversight Committee that after June 30 of last year, more deaths actually occurred.

“Since that date, we’ve had approximately 5,500 additional vital records found, which means, assuming if the rate holds, which you can’t necessarily do, but if it does hold that’s an additional 2,400 nursing home deaths in Michigan that haven’t been accounted for,” said Steve Delie, an attorney representing the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

“In all likelihood that is probably a significant underestimate.”

But one of the committee Democrats counters, the title of the hearing was undercounting deaths. but Democratic Representative Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township) says there’s no proof of that.

“We have not been presented with any facts or evidence today that would support the preconceived conclusion in the name of what we’re ACTUALLY discussing,” she said.

The State Public Health Director says her death data does not include foster care and long-term care facilities. They are not required to report that to the state.

One Republican contends the Governor was making decisions on only “fairly” accurate information.

“There is plausible doubt that the Department knew what was going on and that the Governor and her team were making decisions based on fairly accurate information,” said State Rep. Jack O’Malley (R-Leelanau.)

As for the Republican allegation that the administration has undercounted senior citizen deaths, the director will only say this:

“I would like to make it clear that I said it could be low but I don’t know,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said.

Perhaps there will be some changes to get more data to get closer to an accurate number.

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