CT nursing homes facing millions in fines for non-compliance with COVID vaccine mandates

Connecticut

Conn. (WTNH) –State health officials are investigating a handful of nursing home operators who have not met state mandates to vaccinate workers. Now, they’re cracking up millions of dollars in fines.

Over the summer, Governor Ned Lamont mandated all nursing home staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least the first shot by Sept. 7. There was 95% compliance. But since then, most elder care facilities have been fined for non-compliance, having unvaccinated workers in their facilities.

RELATED: CT COVID-19 Daily Update: Positivity rate reaches 5.96%

Dr. Manisha Juthani, the commissioner of the state Department of Public Health (DPH), said, “For late reporters, the initial fines that went out to all late reporters, in total, was $220,000 [at $5,000 a day]. For the non-reporters, people who did not report at all, those fines that went out totaled over $19 million.”

Many of those fines are being contested right now. According to the commissioner, there are only a handful of companies that have not complied at all, and they are working with the ones that are trying to vaccinate their workers. Their goal is not to fine companies but to protect the patients and staff.

“We will listen to their side of the story, and come to the table to understand what has led to the delays,” Dr. Juthani said.

These fines are for non-compliance with the first rounds of vaccine, but what about boosters? There is no mandate to get boosted, but the commissioner says right now 70 of the nursing homes have had a booster clinic for residents and staff.

“The remaining 30% will have had a booster clinic by Dec. 15 and we will continue our efforts to make sure that we can get both residents and staff members boosted as we go into this winter season,” she said.

The governor says there is an urgency to get as many people vaccinated and boosted as possible, but it is not an emergency. Today hospitalizations were up by 11, bringing the current total to 365.

Governor Lamont said, “Let’s say we are closing in on 400 COVID-related hospitalizations in Connecticut. That is down from 2,000 back when we were closer to getting to capacity, and that was a year and a half ago.”

Right now, the DPH is not naming the nursing homes and long-term care facilities that are out of compliance because it is an active investigation. But that may change in the near future.

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