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State Extends COVID Liability Protections for CT Nursing Homes

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Liability protections for most COVID-related claims against nursing homes in Connecticut will now be extended through Apr. 20. (AARP.org)
Liability protections for most COVID-related claims against nursing homes in Connecticut will now be extended through Apr. 20. (AARP.org)
January 27, 2021

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Nursing homes are getting an extra 2 1/2 months of liability protections from most COVID-19-related lawsuits, after Gov. Ned Lamont extended Connecticut's official state of emergency until Apr. 20.

The decision also extends an executive order shielding nursing homes from lawsuits over coronavirus care, except in cases of gross negligence.

Mairead Painter, long-term care ombudsman for the state, said she received multiple complaints from residents and families about access to care.

"We've gotten complaints about the ability to shower, to go to the bathroom, being able to use the phone video-conference," Painter outlined. "Concerns related to, 'If I complain, am I going to get the water that I need?'"

She noted in general, there have been a lot fewer "checks and balances" on nursing homes during the pandemic, since most families can't visit their loved ones to make sure they're getting the highest-quality care.

Painter added it's now up to state lawmakers to demand greater accountability.

"We would like to see the state legislators take this up as an issue, and put legislation in place to protect residents and end the immunity," Painter urged.

AARP Connecticut released a statement, saying the organization finds it difficult to understand why facilities need continued protection from liability, now that nearly all residents and staff have had the opportunity to be vaccinated.

Disclosure: AARP Connecticut contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CT