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Updated: October 5, 2020 2020 Power 25 — Health Care

11. Matthew Barrett and Mag Morelli

Matthew Barrett, President and CEO, Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities

Connecticut’s aging population has meant an increasingly prominent role for the nearly 350 nursing homes and assisted living facilities scattered around the state.

But perhaps no single event has drawn a spotlight on the long-term care industry than the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in 3,000-plus deaths of elderly residents.

Those deaths have comprised roughly 75% of all Connecticut coronavirus deaths, driving the state’s COVID-19 death rate higher than those of other states.

Mag Morelli, President, LeadingAge Connecticut

During the turmoil, and with state government now investigating long-term care facilities’ pandemic response, two people have worked to protect the interests of facility operators and owners: Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities (CAHCF) and Mag Morelli, president of LeadingAge Connecticut, which represents nonprofit nursing homes and other facilities.

The industry remains in need of financial help, Barrett and Morelli told state lawmakers in July, as nursing homes could once again find themselves on the front lines should the virus resurge over the coming months. Operators need access to sufficient testing, protective equipment and staffing.

Much else is at stake. For example, Gov. Ned Lamont, joining governors in approximately 20 other states, has granted legal immunity to nursing homes and hospitals for coronavirus-related deaths and suffering, but some state lawmakers want to rescind it moving forward, which could expose facilities to costly lawsuits.

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