EXCLUSIVE – Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., demanded that the Department of Health and Human Services investigate New York nursing home deaths, citing the state attorney general’s report that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration may have undercounted nursing home coronavirus deaths by as much as 50%.

Lamborn sent a letter to HHS acting secretary Norris Cochran on Thursday asking for an investigation into nursing home deaths under Cuomo for “a full and public accounting of his administration’s actions.”

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“Throughout the pandemic, long term care facilities were ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic,” Lamborn told Fox News. “This tragedy was created and supercharged by terrible policies, like those of Governor Cuomo and President Biden’s assistant secretary of health nominee Rachel Levine, to place COVID-19 positive individuals back into nursing homes and long-term care facilities.”

“I am deeply concerned by comments made by Melissa DeRosa that Governor Cuomo falsified nursing home death numbers to avoid political backlash,” Lamborn told Fox News. “In addition to the Department of Justice’s investigation into wrongdoing, the Department of Health and Human Services must investigate this issue and establish consistent reporting mechanisms. It is shocking how many Democrats excused Governor Cuomo’s deadly political malfeasance.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on Feb. 22, 2021. (SETH WENIG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on Feb. 22, 2021. (SETH WENIG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Cuomo’s actions have split New York Democrats. New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim – who said Cuomo threatened to ruin his career for speaking out against his mishandling of the nursing home crisis  – called for Cuomo to face impeachment earlier this week.

“The Department of Health and Human Services must investigate this issue without political bias and provide accurate guidance to states for reporting mortality rates,” Lamborn wrote in the letter. “In order to effectively plan for future pandemics, and to raise the quality of care in nursing homes, accurate data is necessary.”

In January, Cuomo blasted his critics for turning a “tragedy” into a “political football” during a media briefing.

Cuomo said, “Look, whether a person died in a hospital or died in a nursing home, it’s — the people died.”

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“People died. ‘I was in a hospital, I got transferred to a nursing home, and my father died.’ ‘My father was in a nursing home, got transferred to a hospital, my father died.’ People died,” he said. “By the way, the same people are dying today. Ninety-six percent of the people who died are older people with comorbidities which happens to be the population who lives in nursing homes.”

Despite Cuomo’s efforts to chalk up the drama-filled weeks to partisan politics, as questions swirling around his handling of the pandemic continue, his administration was forced to admit recently that nursing home deaths had topped 15,000 – nearly 10,000 more than was originally reported by the state at the end of January.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has long had a tense relationship with Cuomo, called for a full investigation into coronavirus nursing home deaths on Monday.

“I have not spoken to [Cuomo]. No, I do not accept his explanation,” de Blasio said during a press conference. “There needs to be a full investigation … we need to get the whole truth and make sure nothing like this ever happens ever again.”

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.