New Hampshire nursing home board members cut line for vaccine, say state health officials

Webster at Rye (N.H.) nursing home included facility board members, who have no direct contact with residents, on its list of staff members eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, New Hampshire Public Radio reported Jan. 12. 

A staff member, who asked to remain anonymous to protect their job, told NHPR they were unable to get the vaccine due to board members and administrators who cut the line. The source said they are now waiting until Jan. 20, the facility's next vaccine clinic appointment. 

When approached by the state's health department, nursing home officials said board members were included on their list of eligible staff members. In a statement obtained by NHPR, Thomas Argue, Webster at Rye's CEO, said it was his decision: "Based on information that CVS was vaccinating all staff who wanted to receive the vaccine regardless of their job description, and that the vaccine was available to 'paid and unpaid' individuals, I made the decision to include our all-volunteer governing board in those receiving the vaccine based on their fiduciary responsibility to oversee the operation of Webster at Rye as directors."

A spokesperson from the state's health department said it "condemns the facility's decision to allow its board members to 'cut in line' to get the vaccine by prioritizing board members alongside their direct caregivers." 

NHPR said the health department has not yet responded to inquiries about whether it would take any action against the nursing home. 

More articles on post-acute care:
CMS head calls for US elder care system reform, outcome-focused payers
Georgia nursing home faces 2 lawsuits involving resident deaths
Nursing homes struggle to obtain resident vaccine consent


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