HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Ned Lamont on Friday publicly announced financial incentives for Connecticut nursing homes that agree to house only COVID-19 positive residents, a move aimed at preventing the system from being overwhelmed by the outbreak.
The details of the additional funds — $600 per-day for each person served, which is more than double the average daily Medicaid payment rate — come after the initial plan and a list of proposed facilities released earlier this week drew sharp criticism from a nursing home executive and family members who said it took some by surprise, creating an “uproar.”
“The discussions with the operators are going on around the clock right now, and we’re looking forward to seeing forward progress on that in the very near future,” said Josh Geballe, Lamont’s chief operating officer, who urged the industry to “step up” and agree to participate.
Besides the extra funds for the planned COVID-19 homes, the Democratic governor announced that all 213 nursing homes in Connecticut would be receiving a 10% increase in Medicaid funding, from April 1 through June 30, to cover expenses related to the outbreak. The three-month increase is expected to cost $35.5 million.
The administration also wants to reopen some closed facilities to increase the amount of available beds as well. The state is offering to help with start-up costs and to make the same $600-per-day payments for each COVID-19-positive nursing home resident served.
In a letter sent Thursday to residents’ families and staff at Manchester Manor and Vernon Manor and Arbors of Hop Brook in Manchester, CEO Paul Liistro criticized Lamont for releasing details of the proposal being worked out with the industry before the facilities could properly notify residents, family members and staff.
“The community uproar is deafening. Before the logic and the plans for transition could occur, the confidentiality was breached and, now, execution is impossible,” Liistro wrote in the letter Thursday.
Patricia Hastings, whose 91-year-old mother lives at Vernon Manor, said Liistro’s letter raised several red flags for her. No one has tested positive at Vernon Manor, and it was not on the list first released by Lamont.
“Why would you even want to disturb these people who are basically safe as this moment that we know of and create potential for a cross contamination?” she asked. “Now you’re going to move people who are elderly — some have Alzheimer’s, some have dementia — and you’re going to uproot them from the home they have? I don’t think they should be doing that to senior citizens. It’s disorienting.”