PA House Republicans announce investigation into Wolf Administration’s handling of nursing homes during COVID-19

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HARRISBURG (Newsradio 100.1 FM and 1020 KDKA) – Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff announced that he will be referring an investigation to the House Government Oversight Committee into the Wolf administration’s handling of nursing homes and other care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roughly half of all Pennsylvania COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic are attributed to nursing homes, according to the press release. As the world marks almost a year into the pandemic, data reporting from the Wolf Administration is conflicted and incomplete.

Another issue that House Republicans want answered is a Department of Health order that required Pennsylvania nursing home readmissions from hospitals of positive COVID-19 patients.

“We believe Pennsylvanians deserve better from their government when they are seeking answers as to why something so tragic has occurred and they are not getting answers,” Benninghoff said. “Unfortunately, as of today, including our recent budget hearings where members directly asked the administration about this issue, Pennsylvanians and their families are left only with excuses and deflection from an administration that has been anything but transparent.”

The Wolf Administration’s lack of transparency during recent House Appropriations Committee budget hearings, as well as their lack of answers for families throughout the pandemic, are also contributing to the call for the investigation.

Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny/Washington) has voiced her frustrations with the Wolf Administration’s lack of transparency when Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam  was asked about the administration’s handling of nursing homes.

“We’ve been looking for answers for our citizens for almost a year now,” Mihalek said. “The Wolf administration claims transparency is their No. 1 priority, yet provide us with no clarity behind their decisions. Our citizens deserve better.”

Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) said that hundreds of Pennsylvania families are still waiting for answers from the administration.

“We want answers for the people who lost loved ones in our nursing homes under Secretary Levine’s order and Governor Wolf’s leadership. The problem has been, no one will step up and do the investigation here in Pennsylvania. So, if no one else will do it for these families, we will,” Owlett said. “So many never got to say goodbye. We cannot bring these lives back. We cannot fix the wrong that was done. But we can learn from this and make sure it never happens again. I look forward to finally getting the answers we all deserve.”