Senate Republican leader Len Fasano of North Haven Keith M. Phaneuf /
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, volleyed back Friday at Gov. Ned Lamont’s offer of temporary relief to nine nursing homes rather than accepting Fasano’s call for a special session to make revisions to the budget crafted by the Democratic majority.

In a letter sent Friday to Lamont, Fasano wrote: “We need our governor, as leader of the state, to take strong action and to have the courage to stand up, admit a wrong, and fix it.”

Lamont’s office had no immediate comment.

The Department of Social Services announced this week it had temporarily suspended plans to reduce one-and-a-half months’ worth of funding on Sept. 20 to the nine homes with high numbers of vacant beds. At issue is a budget provision authorizing DSS to reduce rates to nursing homes with bed vacancy rates exceeding 30 percent.

The nursing homes that stand to lose an estimated $5.3 million in total over this year and next, based on the vacancy standard, are located in Bristol, Fairfield, Hamden, Shelton, Simsbury, South Windsor, Torrington, Wallingford, Waterbury and Wolcott.

The administration’s decision to postpone the Sept. 20 funding cuts likely will save the affected homes “several hundred thousand dollars,” said Matthew V. Barrett, president of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities. But these facilities still face monthly cuts in state funding each month, he said.

“Governor Lamont and his administration have been proactive, reaching out to the nine facilities and provided options in the form of hardship rates and the detailed appeals process on how to move forward,” said Lamont’s communications director, Max Reiss. “The governor wants to get Connecticut to a place where everyone who wants top-of-the-line nursing home care receives it, and anyone who wants top-of-the-line in-home care receives it. What he does not want to is to have the state subsidize the operations of private businesses with unoccupied beds.”

But Fasano wrote to Lamont that “Simply delaying this policy is nowhere near a solution. Lawmakers need to be called in to a special legislative session to reverse this damaging Democrat policy. I implore you to take action.”

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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  1. Lets encourage our CT Legislators to visit our public and private nursing homes to see the challenges especially those related to securing professional staff. We have long standing problems providing care for our most needy with salaries insufficient to provide qualified staffing. Many if not most Legislators may well spend some time in nursing homes themselves. So a visit could be informative.

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