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The state of Connecticut has fined 26 long-term care facilities a combined $221,000 for not complying with its COVID-19 mandate — and could collect a total of $15 million in penalties if providers don’t improve vaccination rates and meet reporting requirements. 

“The purpose of this vaccine mandate is to protect the health and safety of the patients and residents in long-term care as well as the health and safety of the staff, their families, and their co-workers,” Manisha Juthani, commissioner of the state’s Department of Public Health, said in a statement Thursday. 

“Reporting timely and accurately to DPH helps the state ensure that the long-term care industry is meeting this goal and brings confidence to the community that our most vulnerable citizens are safe,” she added. 

The state’s vaccine mandate went into effect on Sept. 28. Non-compliant providers are subject to up to $20,000 in fines daily.

Earlier in October, the state reported that 167 facilities hadn’t reported any data. By Thursday, that number was down to 122 facilities. 

The facilities that reported their data late received a grace period from the state and had $1.5 million in fines forgiven. 

“The numbers demonstrate overwhelming compliance with the vaccine policy objectives and that the few nursing fines are an outlier in what is clearly an enormously successful vaccine initiative,” Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Healthcare Facilities, told local media. He noted that data shows that on average 95% of nursing homes are now vaccinated.

“Our association is recommending state regulators take a balanced approach to evaluating non-compliance issues which favors, focusses and weighs more heavily on the actual compliance with the policy goals and less weight on administrative reporting issues,” he added.