Kelly Questions Membership, Scope of Nursing Home Oversight Working Group

October 30, 2020

HARTFORD – State Senator Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Aging Committee, is questioning the membership and scope of the state’s newly formed Nursing Home & Assisted Living Oversight Working Group (NHALOWG) and is calling for members of the bipartisan Aging Committee to be included as well as elderly residents, a request shared by AARP yesterday.


“I echo AARP’s concerns that the membership and scope of this group, while well intentioned, misses the mark and sends a message that seniors are not the state’s top priority. Despite having 34 members, the working group does not include a single person who resides in a nursing home facility or any seniors who receive home care supports. Everyone should have a voice in this conversation, but most important is to give a voice to those who have been most affected by the pandemic: nursing home residents and seniors living in isolation at home.


“In addition, I am disappointed that despite repeated requests to include the bipartisan Aging Committee in this working group, our committee was not included. The Aging Committee is specifically and uniquely focused on being advocates for elderly individuals most at risk and looks at any and all legislation solely from the perspective of seniors. The Appropriations Committee has a seat at the table, which deals with finances. So does the Human Services Committee, which deals with agency assistance. So does the Public Health Committee, which deals with care providers. And now the Labor & Public Employees Committee has been added to address the interests of union workers. But the Aging Committee remains excluded. It’s important to bring all perspectives together, but the message being sent by excluding the Aging Committee is that budgets, unions and providers take precedence over the wellbeing of seniors — the very people who are most vulnerable to the pandemic and who have suffered the greatest losses.


“Connecticut failed in its response to COVID-19 in our nursing homes in the spring. Connecticut’s response was third worst in the nation for percentage of deaths in nursing homes, with our average death rate nearly double the national average. Isolation of seniors in nursing homes and at home has led to further decline in wellbeing and poorer health outcomes. The Mathematica report was an indictment on the administration which still unbelievably does not have a plan for a second wave and only now is organizing this working group. Including seniors who actually live and experience these issues, as well as including the Aging Committee which is specifically tasked with advocating for seniors, would send a strong message that the state recognizes these issues and is ready to make a significant change to put seniors first.”