(WSYR-TV) — Senator Rachel May released a statement Friday in reaction to a New York Times article claiming that aides to Governor Andrew Cuomo altered data from nursing homes to shower fewer deaths.

“The latest NYT report on machinations within the Cuomo Administration to hide the truth about nursing home deaths has angered me beyond measure. If true, everyone involved in lying to the public and to the Legislature must resign immediately. And that includes the Governor. Even though he is not named in this specific article, it was done in his name. It stemmed from his overweening need to burnish his public image, and it was made possible, if not inevitable, by the culture he created of secrecy and fear of retribution that has been amply documented in recent days.”

May goes on to say she is especially angry that the “devastating tragedy that unfolded in our nursing homes over the past year has been twisted up in lies and political scandal”. She says the controversy makes it harder to focus on the cause of deaths and moving forward with ways to protect vulnerable nursing home residents.

May says staffing shortages and a general lack of infection control and communication at nursing homes led to the high mortality rate. She’s recently introduced legislation to help address these issues.

“It seems to me the real culprit is the Governor’s pursuit of extreme austerity measures in the Medicaid budget over the past decade. The next administration must turn immediately to addressing the crisis in long-term care that plagues this state.”

May is Chair of Committee on Aging.