Watchdog: Nursing Home Deaths Up 32% In 2020 Amid Pandemic

FILE - In this April 17, 2020, file photo, a patient is loaded into an ambulance by emergency medical workers outside Cobble Hill Health Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Deaths among Medicare patients in nursing homes soared by more than 30% last year, with two devastating surges eight months apart, a government watchdog reported Tuesday in the most complete assessment yet of the ravages of COVID-19 among its most vulnerable victims. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(AP) — A government watchdog says that deaths among Medicare patients in nursing homes soared by 32% last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Health and Human Services inspector general found two devastating spikes eight months apart in the most comprehensive look yet at COVID-19’s toll among its most vulnerable victims. Investigators say there were more than 169,000 additional deaths last year among Medicare recipients in nursing homes.

Also, cases and deaths among Asian patients tracked the more severe impacts seen among Blacks and Latinos. Indeed, Asian Medicare enrollees in nursing homes saw the highest increase in death rates, with 27% dying in 2020.


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