Sen. Kelly: State’s Role in Nursing Home COVID-19 Response Must be Investigated Too

June 10, 2020

Sen. Kelly Asks Gov. Lamont to Expand Investigation to Look at State’s Role in Response to COVID-19 in Nursing Homes


State Senator Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), Ranking Member of the Aging Committee and Insurance and Real Estate Committee, wrote to Governor Ned Lamont asking that the governor expand his proposed third party investigation of nursing homes and assisted living facilities’ response to COVID-19 to also include an investigation of the state’s role in protecting vulnerable elderly residents living at these facilities. Sen. Kelly also asked that the independent investigators report to the legislature to allow for full transparency.

“As the state plans to investigate nursing homes and assisted living facilities, we also need to investigate the state’s role in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how that role impacted the spread of the virus throughout these facilities,” Kelly wrote to the Governor. “This investigation cannot be about making one party a scapegoat. It needs to be a truly comprehensive review of all those who had a responsibility to protect the state’s most vulnerable residents so that we can make sure what happened over the last few months never happens again.”

“Just as nursing homes and assisted living facilities had an obligation to do everything in their power to protect residents, the state had an equal if not greater role to ensure that Connecticut’s vulnerable elderly residents were protected,” said Kelly.

“The experience of Italy and Washington state showed that elderly residents and nursing home facilities in particular were the most vulnerable places for residents highly susceptible to the virus with devastating outcomes. Yet despite that, seniors in nursing homes remained vulnerable in Connecticut as demonstrated by reported national data from the end of March which showed that approximately 10% of all nursing home deaths in the U.S. were in CT nursing homes, and almost 14% of the infections nationwide were in CT nursing homes.”

Senator Kelly said the investigation should look at questions including:

  • What did state government do in the early days of the pandemic to support nursing homes?
  • What did the state do to provide access to PPE? What was the state’s policy for purchasing PPE? Did that policy change at any point? Did that policy result in not enough PPE being purchased for the state?
  • What did the state do to determine which facilities did not have access to PPE?
  • Was any of the state’s strategic stockpile of PPE provide to nursing homes? If so, when?
  • What was the timeline and how quickly did the state act?
  • How was information communicated between the state and nursing homes?

Sen. Kelly also asked that the legislature be included in the review process.

“In recent months public trust has been shaken by certain public-private partnerships that have not operated with full transparency…The legislature represents the voices of our constituents, and those voices need to be part of conversations. Members of the public are the ones who are seeing the devastating issues firsthand. We need to hear their voices and understand their experiences to better understand the problems so that we can develop the right solutions. I believe it would be beneficial for the legislature to also conduct a parallel investigation. At the same time, sharing the information an independent group of experts uncovers throughout their investigation is vital to helping us understand the problems as quickly as possible so that they can be addressed, and lives can be saved,” Kelly wrote.


Read Sen. Kelly’s letter.