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Department of Public Health Approves Strike Contingency Plans for 26 Nursing Homes Slated for Union Action Friday

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that it has approved strike contingency plans filed by the owners of 26 skilled nursing facilities, a major step toward ensuring the health and safety of residents in the event unionized staff go forward with a strike at the facilities Friday morning.

Acting DPH Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford said contingency plans were approved for nursing homes owned by iCare Health Network, Genesis Healthcare and Autumn Lake Healthcare, including critical provisions for staffing, security, pharmaceuticals, essential supplies and necessary services to meet the needs of residents. 

DPH has withheld approval for seven nursing homes owned by RegalCare, based on lack of sufficient staffing arrangements, Commissioner Gifford said.  On Wednesday morning, a postponed strike date of May 28 for the RegalCare facilities was announced by District 1199, SEIU, New England Health Care Employees Union.

“DPH’s role in the event of a strike is to monitor and assess the care and services provided to residents to ensure protection of their health and safety,” Commissioner Gifford said.  “Our professional staff are fully prepared and activated to do so.  The state of Connecticut will not sacrifice quality of care for nursing home residents.”

DPH will conduct on-site strike monitoring inspections at varying times at all affected nursing homes on a 24-hour basis.  Department inspectors will assess the care and services provided to patients.  As part of the inspection process, DPH will review staffing, observe patient care and review medical records. 

Members of the Connecticut National Guard will be paired with DPH inspectors to help monitor care and safety.  Commissioner Gifford emphasized that DPH and National Guard members will not be utilized as replacement staff or in other direct care roles.