Gov. Ted Lamont

A new study concludes that Connecticut health officials were lax in their funding and regulation of nursing homes during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

In spite of common deficiencies across the state nursing care system, the state did not follow up with money for personal protective equipment or wages for employees routinely working past the end their regular shifts, said report authors from the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.

Lack of funding, they said, meant that nursing homes repeatedly were unable to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for PPE. Workers said they often were left with no choice but to share or re-use PPE or make their own.

The report, released Monday, was prepared for SEIU District 1199NE.

The authors recommend that facilities in Connecticut implement the recommendations of the Nursing Home and Assisted Living Oversight Working Group and make other revisions to the long-term care facility statutes. Increased state funding under Connecticut S.B. 1030 would go a long way toward making long-term facility reforms, they said.

The report comes as the state and its largest healthcare workers’ union remain at odds over wages. The union is moving closer to a Friday strike at long-term care facilities. Six more nursing homes added themselves to the potential strike on Monday, bringing the list to 39 facilities and 4,000 employees.  

“I ask this governor one more time to please put money into his budget to fund the nursing homes, that we could get the better wages, that we could get more staffing,” said union member Tanya Beckford, a certified nursing assistant with Newington Rapid Recovery Rehab Center.

Gov. Ned Lamont this week proposed $280 million in new federal and state money to bolster the industry and avert a work stoppage. The governor had not included any additional state dollars for nursing homes in the budget he proposed in February.