New York state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office will conduct a follow-up assessment of the state Department of Health's handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The announcement made Wednesday by DiNapoli's office comes three years after a controversial order that required nursing homes at the start of the pandemic to not turn away COVID-19 positive patients. 

The initial review by DiNapoli found New York officials under counted the number of nursing home residents who died in the initial months of the pandemic, a finding that was also backed by an investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James. 

“Families across New York suffered during the pandemic – especially those that lost loved ones in nursing homes,” said DiNapoli. “The audit released last year by my office exposed the devastating extent to which residents were not adequately protected. Now, a year later, my office is initiating a follow-up review of the Department of Health’s progress to see if they have made critical changes. New York must learn from the mistakes made during the pandemic.”

Previous reviews by DiNapoli's office of nursing home policy determined health officials were unprepared and limited in their ability to handle the outbreak of an infectious disease at long-term care facilities. 

DiNapoli's office had previously recommended changes to how state health officials respond to viral outbreaks and how data is reported and collected. The follow-up is set to examine whether those recommendations have been followed. 

State lawmakers this year are considering adding more funding to the state's ombudsman nursing home program in order to expand the number of visits to the facilities by an oversight program. Lawmakers have also called for a higher remibursement rate from the Medicaid program in order to aid financially struggling nursing homes. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration previously announced plans to conduct a wide-ranging assessment of pandemic-era policies by the state, including how nursing homes were treated.