Governor Lamont’s Announces COVID-19 Medical Surge Plan that Includes Opening of Vacant Nursing Homes
On April 1, 2020, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced a medical surge plan to address the state’s needs for responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The plan, under which the state will collaborate with long-term care facilities, involves the creation of dedicated spaces for COVID-19 positive patients and moving non-infected patients to separate facilities. Governor Lamont outlined four options relating to nursing homes:
- Separating COVID-19 Patients. Patients that test positive for COVID-19 in a hospital and who are later admitted to a nursing home will be monitored for 14 days in an area with only COVID-19 positive residents. Residents of nursing homes that test negative to COVID-19 will reside together and away from the residents who test positive.
- Dedicated Space. Existing nursing homes will dedicate units where COVID-19 positive residents will reside together.
- Voluntary Transfer and Conversion of Existing Nursing Homes. Residents who either test negative for COVID-19 or have no symptoms may voluntarily transfer to another nursing home where there are no other COVID-19 positive residents. Furthermore, some existing nursing homes will house only residents who are COVID-19 positive, and new admissions to those nursing homes will be limited to residents who have been diagnosed positive.
- Re-opening of Vacant Nursing Homes. Vacant nursing homes (including those that have become vacant due to recent closure) would be licensed as chronic and convalescent nursing homes and would be dedicated to caring for COVID-19 positive patients. The state would request a Section 1135 waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to allow for rapid certification of these nursing homes. Connecticut’s Department of Public Health (DPH) would inspect and approve the new facilities. DPH also offered to provide support regarding equipment, staffing and logistics.
With respect to converting existing nursing homes and re-opening vacant nursing homes as described above, providers would be required to submit a written proposal to DPH for approval. The proposal must address staffing patterns, equipment needs and support systems that will be provided, such as food services. Connecticut’s Department of Social Services and Office of Policy and Management have developed payment rate structures for the converted and re-opened nursing homes.
Governor Lamont expects an additional 1,175 beds will be created through this surge plan. His office has identified specific locations as potential sites for conversion and re-opening:
Facilities that may be Converted
- Evergreen Health Care (Stafford Springs, 180 Beds)
- Sharon Health Care (Sharon, 88 Beds)
- Touchpoints of Farmington (Farmington, 120 Beds)
- Touchpoints of Bloomfield (Bloomfield, 30 Beds)
- Greenwich Woods (Greenwich, 217)
Facilities that may be Re-Opened
- Old Greenwich Civic Center (Greenwich, 90 Beds)
- Silver Hill Hospitals (New Caanan, 90 Beds)
- Westfield (Meriden, 120 Beds)
- Green Springs (East Hartford, 120 Beds)
- Vacant Nursing Home in Region 5 (Northwest Connecticut, 120 Beds)