I am so furious I had to wait a day to post on the most egregious move of Jodi Rell's yet. Yesterday, she announced she was single-handedly closing the program through the vocational-technical schools that produce the highest number of licensed practical nurses in the state. This is so outrageous, I can barely type.
The LPN program is unusual. It is almost a school itself within the vo-tech system. Unlike the rest of the system, it is not a high-school program; instead, it serves adults, which makes more sense for a nursing program, anyway.
The tuition through state assistance is $4850. Private technical schools have entered the market in the last 10 years -- to the tune of $20,000 to $30,000 for the same education. Who can afford that in this economy?
LPNs run long term care facilities (nursing homes) in Connecticut. The state program adds about 350 new LPNs every year. If this program is shut down, we will have only three for-profit technical schools left, each with a capacity of about 20 students. With the average age of the nurses in Connecticut about 50, we desperately need to keep educating nurses to care for the baby boomers as we age and retire from the profession. This puts the health and safety of our seniors at serious risk to save just $1.4mil -- a drop in the bucket of our state's budget mess.
And today, Senator Chris Dodd wrote an op-ed for the Connecticut Post describing the CLASS Act, written by Senator Edward Kennedy.
[It is] a national, voluntary insurance program that will help people with functional impairments access the services and supports they need to go about their daily lives.
Sadly, without a means of educating LPNs in large numbers, Connecticut residents will have a much more difficult time receiving services under this legislation since there will not be enough nurses to provide care. Please call your state representative and state senator and tell them you need for them to stand up to the governor's idiotic budget cuts and protect Connecticut's most vulnerable.