Connecticut fines long-term care facilities for failing to report COVID vaccination rates


A month after Connecticut’s vaccination mandate for workers in long-term care facilities went into effect, the state notified 26 providers that they had been fined a combined $ 221,000 for failing to reported their immunization rates on time.

The state’s public health ministry reported on Thursday evening that as of last week, 59 facilities submitted late reports, but authorities decided to give them a one-week “grace period” to do so. conform. Thirty-three facilities complied within the grace period and the state has forgiven more than $ 1.5 million in potential fines for those facilities.

The 26 who still had not reported and were penalized this week include nine managed residential communities, nine residential care homes, four assisted living facilities, three nursing homes and one chronic disease hospital.

One of the nursing homes that was fined $ 10,000 was Ark Healthcare and Rehabilitation in St. Camille on Elm Street in Stamford. L’Arche administrator Reuven Fischer said on Thursday the nursing home planned to appeal the fine and had always tried to comply with the governor’s decrees regarding long-term care facilities .

“Although we recognize that there has been a brief period of administrative delay in the official communication of our data to the Ministry of Public Health, the facility has met the vaccination mandate with the utmost seriousness and diligence. “Fischer said in a statement to the CT Mirror. .

“This administrative declaration error was quickly corrected and in no way reflects the high level of vaccine compliance of the staff. To date, the Saint-Camille Center has 94% of its staff vaccinated, the rest of the staff, of which there are only a few, benefit from exemptions in accordance with the decree, ”added Fischer.

More fines to come?

There are still 122 establishments that have not reported anything to DPH, now one month past the deadline.

Beginning November 1, facilities classified as non-reporting may be subject to ongoing penalties, which will not include the 7-day grace period, according to the DPH. The agency estimates that non-reporters face fines totaling $ 15 million collectively.

Many of these are managed residential communities that are affiliated with assisted living facilities and have overlapping staff. A DPH team has been sorting them out for a few weeks.

DPH also reviews the reporting status of all intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities, known as ICF / IID facilities, separately, as these facilities are also subject to a different executive decree and may have previously reported under it. this.

“We strongly urge establishments that have not yet reported EO 13F compliance to DPH to submit their attestation reports as soon as possible,” DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani said in a statement Thursday evening.

“The purpose of this immunization mandate is to protect the health and safety of patients and long-term care residents as well as the health and safety of staff, their families and colleagues. Timely and accurate reporting to DPH helps the state ensure that the long-term care industry achieves this goal and gives the community confidence that our most vulnerable citizens are safe. “

Less weight on administrative issues

Lamont’s decree called for all long-term care facilities – including nursing homes, assisted living centers, residential care homes, chronic disease hospitals, intermediate care facilities and residential communities managed – to report the immunization status of their staff as well as any subcontractors entering their buildings by September 28 under penalty of fines of up to $ 20,000 per day.

All employees in these establishments were to be immunized against COVID-19, unless they were granted a religious or medical exemption.

Two weeks ago, officials from the Ministry of Health acknowledged that part of the under-reporting “could result from the decision of the establishments [that] share buildings and staff to declare all covered [long-term care] workers under the same installation so as not to count twice the number of workers subject to the decree.

The Ministry of Health then revised its reporting system so that facilities can specify whether they are consolidating their data into one report.

Connecticut Association of Healthcare Facilities president Matthew Barrett said DPH data shows that on average 95% of nursing home staff are now vaccinated, which is one of the lowest rates. highest in the country.

“The numbers demonstrate overwhelming compliance with immunization policy goals and that the few fines for nursing are an outlier in what is clearly a hugely successful vaccine initiative,” Barrett said.

“Our association recommends that state regulators take a balanced approach to assessing non-compliance issues that promotes, focuses, and weighs more heavily on actual compliance with policy objectives and less weight on reporting issues. administrative. “

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