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Justice Department Won't Probe Michigan Nursing Home Deaths

whitmer sitting at desk
Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Updated July 22, 9:07 p.m.

The Justice Department will not open a civil rights investigation related to COVID-19 deaths in Michigan’s nursing homes.

The notification Thursday came nearly 11 months after the department’s Civil Rights Division requested data from the Democratic governors of four states, including Michigan.

The department said it was considering whether to investigate under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). It's a federal law protecting the rights of people in public nursing homes.

The letter was sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s legal counsel and was signed by Steven Rosenbaum, chief of the department’s Special Litigation Section.

From the letter: “We have reviewed the information you provided along with additional information available to the Department. Based on that review, we have decided not to open a CRIPA investigation of any public nursing facility in Michigan at this time.”

Most nursing homes are privately owned.

Republicans have criticized Whitmer for allowing recovering COVID-19 patients to return to nursing homes, but she has said doing so complied with federal guidance.

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