State disputes report showing 42% more long-term care deaths

Coronavirus

In this Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021 file photo, provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Elizabeth Hertel, director of the state health department addresses the state (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is disputing the methodology and conclusions in a pending report that is expected to say there were thousands more coronavirus-related deaths tied to long-term care facilities in Michigan than reported by the state.

Auditors plan to release their review next week, but the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services sought to publicly preempt it.

In a letter written Sunday and released Wednesday, director Elizabeth Hertel referenced “serious concerns” to the state auditor’s office — including with its plan to combine COVID-19 deaths at facilities that are subject to state or federal reporting requirements and those that aren’t.

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