Approximately 7,000 health care workers across the state hired during the pandemic will have to be laid off if they are not fingerprinted for state-mandated background checks before July 20, the Connecticut Department of Health warns in urgent memos sent to nursing homes . Health departments, chronic disease hospitals, and other health facilities.
However, the nursing home industry is hoping for an extension in the face of staff shortages and the healthcare industry.
July 20 marks the date when Democratic Governor Ned Lamont’s public health and civil preparedness emergencies are currently due to end. Fingerprint controls were suspended last year as part of one of Lamont’s orders to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Seven thousand workers who have not been fingerprinted by July 20, 2021 are not entitled to continued employment in direct nursing positions unless they are fingerprinted before the ordinance expires,” said Christopher Boyle, a health department spokesman in an explanation. Those who receive fingerprints on or before July 20th but are still waiting for their results can be set under “Temporary Status”.
“The legal requirement of a background check is not new and an important measure to ensure the health and safety of the residents of nursing homes. We strongly encourage employers and their 7,000 employees to book appointments now, ”said Boyle. The 7,000 include those who were hired from March 23, 2020 to May 19, 2021.
Healthcare facilities, especially nursing homes and home care facilities, are struggling to fill positions and say they cannot afford to lose staff. There are also concerns from the nursing home industry as to whether the Connecticut State Police, which is responsible for conducting fingerprint-based criminal history reviews in long-term care facilities, will be able to deal with the huge backlog that has left during the pandemic in time for the impending deadline of the state.
“We support the plan and are working with DPH, but with the ambitious timeline it is becoming increasingly clear that the state police barracks cannot provide the capacity to handle the backlog,” said Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities and the Connecticut Center for Assisted Living. Barrett, who has heard of occupations at some barracks, hopes state health officials will extend the deadline to September, which he believes is still an ambitious target.
“A comprehensive background check is being carried out. The only piece that is not in progress is the fingerprint piece and we support this and we support an ambitious plan and we believe in completing it by September, ”he said, explaining the layoffs of thousands of workers over the course of this Month would be “sufficient”. severe “for both the employees and their employers.
“The consequences are severe and severe, so extending the deadline is far more sensible than allowing it to do so, especially given the persistent and chronic staff shortage that Connecticut nursing homes continue to experience,” he said. Many facilities in the state have recently stopped accepting admissions because of insufficient staff, according to Barrett. He couldn’t give a specific number.
Health authorities report similar challenges. On Thursday, Coco Sellman, founder and CEO of Allume Home Care in Watertown, which specializes in helping the medically frail children and adults, said dozens of children are currently stuck in hospitals because they continuously need skilled care to leave, and there are not enough doctors to provide the home care services required.
Boyle said there are currently no plans to extend the deadline, noting that DPH is monitoring appointments on a daily basis.
“While some barracks are fully booked, other barracks have many open appointments,” he said. “We urge people to use the available dates.”
DPH and state police introduced a special fingerprinting schedule for the 7,000 workers in June and have given long-term care employers and affected workers “heavy messages” about the need to complete the fingerprinting before July 20, he said .
“We were promoting the availability of appointments, including instructions on how to make appointments, and we held several webinars to answer questions,” said Boyle. “Appointments are available daily in 10-minute increments in several State Police barracks across the country.”