The state Comptroller confirmed what a lot of people realized…that the State Department of Health was unprepared to respond to infectious disease outbreaks at nursing homes – even before COVID.
Tom DiNapoli says a lack of funding left DOH without information systems and staff that could have helped, especially with counting the toll on residents.
The audit recommended:
- The Executive Chamber assess and improve its internal control environment, including improving cooperation with state oversight inquiries, communication with localities, and external reporting.
- DOH expand its use of infection control data to identify patterns, trends, areas of concern or non-compliance that will help create policy recommendations for infection control practices and nursing home surveys; improve quality of public reported data; and strengthen communication and coordination with localities on collection and reporting and use of infection control data.
- DOH collect supplemental data through other sources, such as the CDC, and incorporate it into its current data sets to establish a foundation to adequately address public health emergencies.