Category: New & Events

All post for news and events.

Governor Lamont Issues Order Requiring Nursing Home Visitors Show Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination or Negative Test Result

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has issued an executive order (Executive Order No. 14F) directing all nursing homes in Connecticut to require visitors to either show proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recently tested negative for the virus in order to enter the facilities.

“We know that some of the people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 include those who live in nursing homes, which is why we need to be doing everything we can to protect them from this virus,” Governor Lamont said. “This is one more precaution we can implement at these facilities to keep them safe.”

Specifically, when entering nursing homes, visitors must:

  • Provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and, if eligible, under FDA or CDC guidance, have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster;
  • Provide paper or electronic proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from either a rapid antigen test that was completed within the previous 48 hours or a PCR test that was completed within the previous 72 hours; or
  • Take a rapid antigen test at the nursing home.

The order requires nursing homes to deny entrance to any visitor that tests positive for COVID-19 or who refuses to take a rapid antigen test. The order further provides, according to guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, that a nursing home cannot deny entrance to any visitor who is willing to take a rapid antigen test but is unable to do so because the nursing home is not able to provide a rapid antigen test.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health plans on distributing 50,000 rapid antigen tests to all nursing homes. These are to be used exclusively to facilitate safe visitation. Distribution will begin on Friday, January 21, 2022.

The order takes effect on Saturday, January 22, 2022.

**DownloadGovernor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 14F

Justice in Aging, Updated “25 Common Nursing Home Problems & How to Resolve Them” Now Available

Justice in Aging has updated its essential guide, 25 Common Nursing Home Problems—& How to Resolve Them. The revised guide includes new information on how to fight evictions, COVID-19 specific information for the ongoing public health emergency, and more. 

The 25 problems identified in the guide are common across the country and in all types of nursing homes. The guide gives residents, family members, friends, and other advocates the tools they need to identify and solve the problems residents most frequently face. 

Alzheimer’s Assoc. to Host The New England Family Caregivers Conference March 4-5

The State Unit on Aging, as a Community Partner of the Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, is happy to announce that The Alzheimer’s Association will host a free virtual educational conference for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their families. The New England Family Conference will take place March 4-5, 2022 and is open to individuals living with Alzheimer’s, family caregivers and the general public. Hear from a panel of individuals living with Alzheimer’s, as well as a panel of caregivers who will share firsthand experiences in their journey with the disease and life after a diagnosis. The schedule of programs features a special session in Spanish, Legal and Financial Issues to Consider, Caregiving, Ambiguity and Finding the Tools to Thrive and Flourish, presented by Jack Paul Gesino, DSW, LCSW, and The Journey of Grief Throughout Caregiving: It Begins with the Diagnosis, presented by Deanna Upchurch. Experts in the field of care and support will share practical and concrete recommendations, resources, and guidance in the care and support for those living a life with dementia.

For more information and to register for the event, visit alzfamilyconference.org.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1wSBDIuy4c6XKmXczkUBSIcORJvT58uzP?usp=sharing

Governor Lamont Extends State’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol Through February 2, Urges Residents To Prepare for Below Normal Temperatures for Next Two Weeks

Posted on January 18, 2022

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that due to trends in the forecast indicating that temperatures in Connecticut will generally average about 10 degrees below normal for the next two weeks, he is directing the state’s severe cold weather protocol – which he activated on Friday, January 14 – to remain in effect through noon on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. It was originally set to expire on Wednesday, January 19.

Current forecasts are indicating that over the next two weeks, highs in the state are generally expected to be in the 20s, with lows in the single digits or teens. At times, the state may experience a few arctic outbreaks during which highs may only reach about 10 degrees, and lows dipping to between -10 and -20 degrees.

“It’s appearing that over the next couple of weeks we’re going to experience temperatures that are even colder than what is normal for this time of year, in addition to the potential for multiple winter storms,” Governor Lamont said. “This long-duration severe cold weather can be life threatening if someone is outdoors for extended periods of time. Shelters are open across the state, and I urge anyone in need to get connected to these services. If you or someone you know is in need of shelter, call 2-1-1 and they will direct you to a nearby location and can also provide transportation if needed.”

The purpose of the severe cold weather protocol is to ensure that the most vulnerable populations receive protection from the severe cold conditions. While enacted, a system is set up for state agencies and municipalities to coordinate with United Way 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to make sure that anyone in need can receive shelter, including transportation to shelters.

The following actions are implemented while the protocol is enacted:

-The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security activates its WebEOC communications network, which is an internet-based system that enables local, regional, and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions. The system is used to monitor capacity at shelters across the state, enabling 2-1-1 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it. Local officials, working through WebEOC, can alert 2-1-1 and the state when they open temporary shelters or warming centers.

The Connecticut Department of Social Services, Connecticut Department of Housing, and Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services coordinate with 2-1-1 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, along with community-based providers, to provide transportation for people seeking shelter.

For emergency management news and resources, visit the state’s CTPrepares website at ct.gov/ctprepares or download the CTPrepares app to mobile devices at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.  
Read on CT.gov

Portal for Ordering COVID Test Kits Now Open

 

Free COVID-19 Rapid Tests A new website from the US Postal Service allows residents to order at-home COVID-19 rapid testing kits.

Visit: https://special.usps.com/testkits

Details: Limit of one order per residential address One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests Orders will ship free starting in late January   Visit USPS site     More information about COVID-19 testing for state health plan members will be forthcoming as federal guidance is implemented. 

Governor Lamont Announces Agreement With Disability Rights Groups on Distribution of COVID-19 Rapid Tests and N95 Masks

Posted on January 14, 2022

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration, working in cooperation with the Office of Attorney General William Tong, has reached an agreement with Disability Rights Connecticut and Connecticut Legal Rights Project regarding the state’s ongoing distribution of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests and N95 masks.

Under the agreement, the Connecticut Department of Public Health is issuing revised guidance to towns and cities on the distribution of tests and masks. This updated guidance includes instructions on the prioritization of vulnerable populations, including those who live in congregate housing and those who have physical, mental, or intellectual or other developmental disabilities.

In addition, the administration will be providing 20,000 N95 masks (without metal in them) to the Connecticut Department of Correction for the immediate use of incarcerated individuals.

Disability Rights Connecticut and Connecticut Legal Rights Project have agreed to withdraw complaints they recently filed on this topic with the Office of Civil Rights and the United States Department of Justice.

“We know that COVID-19 is impacting certain, vulnerable populations the most, and that is why we need to do everything in our ability to ensure that those who have physical, mental, or developmental disabilities or live in congregate settings have access to the tools they need to protect themselves from this virus,” Governor Lamont said. “I appreciate Disability Rights Connecticut and Connecticut Legal Rights Project for working with my administration on this effort.”

“I want to thank our Health section chief Dan Shapiro for his excellent work in crafting this agreement, which will provide important access to masks and testing supplies for incarcerated individuals and individuals with disabilities,” Attorney General Tong said. “I thank Governor Lamont and his team for their dogged efforts to bring these masks and tests into Connecticut to help keep us safe and fight this pandemic.”

“As an organization serving individuals with disabilities throughout the state, we are pleased that the governor acted quickly in response to our complaints to get effective relief to the people we represent during this very difficult period in the pandemic,” Deborah Dorfman, executive director of Disability Rights Connecticut, said. “This will help protect those who are most at risk, benefitting everyone.”

“We are very appreciative that the state worked collaboratively with us to ensure that our clients in DMHAS facilities were able to get N95 masks, and to increase access to self-test kits for Connecticut residents with disabilities in all 169 cities and towns,” Kathy Flaherty, executive director of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, said.

**Download: Revised guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health to towns and cities on the distribution of tests and masks  
Read on CT.gov

Center for Medicare Advocacy: Free Webinar, Medicare & Health Care Update 1/27 @ 1 PM

This webinar will provide an overview of Medicare issues in 2022, including potential legislative and administrative changes.  We will highlight key issues to watch in the coming year, including pandemic-related policy changes.  We will feature a discussion about the need for Medicare coverage of audiology care with Dr. Frank Lin, Director of the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University.

Presented by Center for Medicare Advocacy Associate Director David Lipschutz, Policy Attorney Kata Kertesz, and Special Guest Dr. Frank Lin, John Hopkins University, as well as SMP Outreach Specialist & Case Manager Sandy Morales with an update on fraud trends.

Register Now:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7676601484705606158

Governor Lamont Announces Benefits Are Now Available for Connecticut’s New Paid Family and Medical Leave Program

Posted on January 14, 2022

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that Connecticut workers can now access benefits under the state’s newly launched paid family and medical leave program, which provides wage replacement for those who need to take time away from work to address qualifying health or family concerns.

Overseen by the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority, a quasi-public state agency, the program began granting benefits to eligible applicants on January 1, 2022. The program is entirely employee-funded through a payroll deduction of 0.5%, which began on January 1, 2021. The employee contributions are pooled into the Paid Leave Trust, which pays the paid leave benefit. The authority has partnered with Aflac to manage claims and administer benefits.

The amount of income replacement varies based on a worker’s earnings and is capped at 60 times the state minimum wage, or $780/week.

Qualifying reasons to apply for paid leave benefits include:

-To care for one’s own serious health condition (including serving as a bone marrow or organ donor, and pregnancy);
-To care for a family member experiencing a serious health condition;
-To bond with a new child (biological, adopted, or fostered);
-To address issues arising from family violence;
-To care for a military family member injured during federal active duty; or
-To address issues arising from a parent, spouse, or child’s call to federal active duty.

To file a claim, workers are encouraged to submit applications online, which is the fastest way to apply, by visiting ctpaidleave.org. Those who do not have access to the internet, or who have questions and would like to speak with an Aflac customer care advocate, can call the program’s toll-free hotline at 877-499-8606. Hours of operation for a live representative are 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Governor Lamont said, “I signed this legislation into law two and a half years ago, and since then a tremendous amount of effort and dedication has gone into getting us to this point of making paid leave a reality in Connecticut. The people of Connecticut now have a necessary safety net in place if they are faced with family or health concerns. The program is less than two weeks old, and already making a tremendous difference for the 400 residents and counting who’ve been approved for paid family and medical leave and will be able to take care of themselves or a loved one without worrying about how to make ends meet. Taking care of our workers is not only the right thing to do, but also the necessary thing to do to ensure that our state continues to thrive.”

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said, “Paid leave has been sorely needed for some time, but never more so than now. The individuals and families who will receive paid leave benefits will feel immediate relief, giving them the opportunity to focus on their and their family’s health and wellbeing instead of worrying about how to make ends meet during an already difficult time.”

Andrea Barton Reeves, CEO of the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority, said, “We have accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time in standing this program up. The authority is grateful to our various partners, both within state government and externally, for sharing the same passion that we do for the program – and for those it will help – and aiding us to bring it to fruition.”

State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury), co-chair of the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee, said, “Serving as the 24th District’s state senator has been such an honor, and it all feels worthwhile when we are able to enact programs that really make a difference for Connecticut’s working families. In 2022, young mothers won’t have to return to work immediately after giving birth, sons and daughters will be able to care for a parent at the end of life without risking their job, and there will be a financial cushion for people when a health crisis overwhelms the family.”

State Representative Robyn Porter (D-Hamden, New Haven), co-chair of the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee, said, “I’m humbled to have championed the passage of the nation’s most progressive family and medical leave program. Importantly, the Connecticut paid leave program ensures that no one will have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a family member. Subsequently, the program recognizes the diverse definition of family in our society and echoes the definition of family to encompass those who may not be blood relatives but are family by close affinity. Moreover, it delivers racial equity to women of color who are oftentimes the breadwinners in their households, which makes this an overall transformative and historical piece of legislation.”

Josh Geballe, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services and chief operating officer, who also serves as chair of the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority’s board of directors, said, “This program is in place for the people of Connecticut who need it most – who are hard workers, who support our economy, and who care for their families. Paid leave is yet another reason that Connecticut is a great place to work, live, and do business.”

Aflac U.S. President Teresa White said, “We are proud to be a trusted partner with the state as the administrator of this new program. Our team, right here in Connecticut, is committed to delivering first-class services to the people and families that rely on the timely delivery of benefits through the Connecticut paid leave program. We will apply the same standards of care, excellence and innovative approach that makes us a leading provider of supplemental healthcare benefits – serving more than 50 million people worldwide.”

Nora Duncan, AARP Connecticut state director, said, “We rely on family caregivers to help older adults and people with disabilities live safely and independently in their homes, which is where most people want to remain as they age. Connecticut’s new paid family and medical leave program ensures that working family caregivers no longer have to choose between supporting their loved ones and paying their bills.”

Janée Woods Weber, executive director of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, said, “Historically, women, people of color, and low-income workers have been least likely to have access to paid leave benefits through their jobs – but no more. Connecticut’s paid leave program will go a long way towards correcting the economic inequities many women and workers of color have faced by ensuring financial security when individuals need to take time from work. This essential program will undoubtedly improve the well-being and quality of life for countless Connecticut families.”

Gretchen Raffa, vice president of public policy, advocacy, and organizing for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said, “Access to paid family and medical leave will help give Connecticut residents the freedom to take care of their health and their families without worrying about losing their job. Paid family and medical leave keeps people safe and healthy – especially important now during a global pandemic – and allows workers to prioritize their health and wellbeing, welcome new family members, and care for loved ones who are ill. Planned Parenthood of Southern New England was a proud member of the campaign to pass one of the most inclusive paid family leave policies in the country. These benefits will improve the lives of our patients and residents for years to come.”  
Read on CT.gov