Report: Michigan Nursing Home COVID Deaths Could Be Underreported by 40% or Higher

AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias

The mess in Michigan continues getting bigger and this part of the mess should really make those who have made excuses under the guise of data and science just stop and think about this.

Data has been willfully not compiled because it is too ‘time-consuming.’

What?

If you have read any of my articles in the past couple of months you know that I have been following and writing about a gent named Charlie LeDuff who has been doing some old-style reporting. Here are some of the stories I have written about following his lead.

Michigan Gov Sneaked off to Florida in a Billionaires’ Jet and No One Seems to Care.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig Might Run Against Gretchen Whitmer Next Year.

Gretchen Whitmer Likes Private Jets, Even Flew on One to Biden Inauguration.

LeDuff and his show the No Bullshit News Hour joined up with Mackinac Center for Public Policy to force the State of Michigan to release the data for the actual numbers of people who died in care facilities. From their initial find, Michigan looks like it failed in collecting the numbers that could have helped steer policy and possibly save lives.

From Deadline Detroit

It appears that Michigan wildly under-counts Covid deaths in its long term care facilities.

A joint investigation by the “No BS News Hour” and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy reveals that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) does not do a thorough job of scrubbing vital records to determine whether people who died of Covid were nursing home residents, as its own guidelines require.

Moreover, our investigation found that DHHS did conduct a limited review of those vital records last summer, and found that 44 percent could be traced to nursing homes.

Don’t expect the nursing home data to get better or more accurate. DHHS has abandoned the practice of thoroughly scrubbing records because it is considered too “time-consuming.”

Why does this matter?

As I said above, we have been told that state officials were basing all the decisions they were making on science and data. So all the closures and restrictions we experienced here in the Great Lakes State were supposed to be based on the best data possible.

According to LeDuff’s Deadline Detroit story above, they reviewed records after having to sue to have an FOIA request honored and found this: From March to June of 2020, the state audited 1,468 death records and of those 648 deaths were traced back to long-term care facilities. Taking that 44% as an average and applying it to the near 7,000 other vital records deaths recorded would be close to another 3,000 deaths for those who are being cared for in care facilities.

The places where some of our most vulnerable people live. Where we send our elders to be cared for and expect them to be protected by those who are analyzing the science and the data and crow about it ad nauseam.

I take this a bit personally being I am incredibly blessed to be a caregiver to someone who has Alzheimer’s and has spent a couple of sleepless nights worrying about making sure she is as well taken care of as possible during this COVID time. I’m working with one person but those who are working in a care facility have any challenge I face on daily basis times 100. I have so much awe and respect for those who work in these places where people that are not family are cared for like they were. The vast majority of those who work in care facilities are the best-kept secret in our society and are invaluable.

With these numbers that NBS and the Mackinac Center have compiled, it looks like the data was not being tracked and presented correctly on deaths in nursing homes. How do you make the best decisions for those being cared for without that?

There is more digging to do and I encourage you to follow the great work that Charlie LeDuff is doing on this and many other things once again over at No Bullshit News Hour and on Twitter.

I know there will be more to come.