SEIU: Gov. Whitmer’s Actions Saved Lives for Nursing Home Residents and Staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

March 11, 2021  

Contact: Kevin Lignell, 313-401-3697, kevin.lignell@seiuhealthcaremi.org 

SEIU: Gov. Whitmer’s Actions Saved Lives for Nursing Home Residents and Staff

SEIU Healthcare Michigan demands Peter Lucido end the lies, political attacks, and misinformation. 

Mt. Clemens, Mich. – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Michigan calls on Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido to immediately end the abuse of office and waste of taxpayer dollars in his pursuit of a sham political attack against Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Further, members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan can verify that Governor Whitmer’s policies helped save the lives of residents and staff in long-term care facilities.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the dedicated members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan have been on the frontlines working to protect seniors and our most vulnerable in nursing home facilities across Michigan, and we have seen firsthand how Governor Whitmer’s policies have saved lives,” said Andrea Acevedo, President of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. “ We are grateful for Governor Whitmer’s leadership as she worked to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, ensured workers and residents had adequate PPE, prioritized COVID-19 testing in long-term care facilities, and offered 100 percent of nursing home residents and staff the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine. SEIU Healthcare Michigan represents thousands of working people who are alive today due to Governor Whitmer’s life-saving actions.

As a state senator, Lucido failed to live up to the standards that residents expect their elected officials to uphold. In fact, Lucido completely abandoned his job at the height of the pandemic when the Michigan state Senate voted to pass COVID-19 relief for nursing homes. He missed votes on legislation to allocate more than $22 million for COVID-19 testing of vulnerable populations in nursing homes, more than $3 million to reimburse hospitals who kept nursing home residents who were recovering from COVID-19, and $2 million for Care Recovery Centers to help COVID-19 patients.

If Peter Lucido claims to care about nursing home residents and staff now, it’s certainly clear that he abandoned them when he had the most power to help people in their time of need. 

“Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido’s political attacks are false — Governor Whitmer never forced nursing homes to accept COVID-19 positive patients,” continued Acevedo. “While Lucido and his Republican colleagues were actively dissuading people from doing simple things like wearing masks and social distancing, the members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan were hard at work saving lives. It really is disappointing that Republicans are using the insidiousness of a virus as political propaganda to sow misinformation and lies.”

Throughout the pandemic, Governor Whitmer has taken a series of actions to keep people safe, including implementing a ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ strategy that slowed community spread. This action gave nursing homes enough time to provide residents and staff with proper personal protective equipment. And the former national president of the American Association of Retired People, Eric Schneidewind, said that “the governor’s ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’ order helped limit the spread overall and therefore mitigated the harm nursing homes would have felt.”

Governor Whitmer then worked alongside nursing home facilities to ensure frequent testing of residents and staff to ensure facilities could prevent COVID-19 from entering these spaces. Then the governor created 21 nursing home hubs to care for residents who were transported from the hospital. Lastly, Governor Whitmer has expedited vaccinations for residents and staff in nursing home facilities, with 100 percent having been offered both doses of the safe, effective vaccine. 

Due to these actions, “Michigan’s nursing home residents constituted a smaller proportion of overall COVID-19 deaths than the U.S. average, with Michigan nursing home resident deaths making up 33.2 percent of all COVID-related mortalities in the state, versus 38.6 percent across the rest of the country,” according to a independent study from the University of Michigan’s Center for Health and Research Transformation.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan represents over 6,000 nursing home workers in more than 66 facilities in Michigan, including a majority in metro Detroit. 

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