I-TEAM INVESTIGATION: ‘COVID missteps’ lead to New Haven terminating public health nursing director

I-TEAM INVESTIGATION: Public health nursing director fired in New Haven
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 6:39 PM EDT
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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – The I-Team is getting answers for New Haven.

Eyewitness News is learning “COVID missteps” lead to the city terminating its public health nursing director.

Channel 3 obtained documents relating to Stacey Hutcherson’s termination.

He was New Haven’s public health nursing director and was responsible for COVID clinics.

It was a big deal back in February when the city had to let people know that they’d have to get another COVID dose because some of the vaccines were improperly stored.

By that time, Hutcherson was already gone.

That mistake happened under his watch.

The I-Team has exclusively obtained pages of records and internal emails surrounding the termination of New Haven’s former director of public health nursing.

Stacey Hutcherson was brought on in March 2021, but let go in January 2022.

According to a probationary letter, Hutcherson failed to follow chain of command and meet department deadlines.

When it came to the city’s COVID response, officials write Hutcherson: “did not monitor all infectious disease inventory, including vaccine inventory.”

They give two examples from November 2021 where vaccines had to be transferred from another clinic to the health department to ensure adequate supply.

The city also says Hutcherson missed several program deadlines, including one for pre-ordering for kids.

They say some nurses had to wait for payment and the amount the city could have been reimbursed for nursing services was jeopardized because he was late to submit those forms.

The city also says people had to be turned away from vaccine clinics because Hutcherson didn’t ensure nurses were following orders for boosters for those 12 and up.

The problem surrounding improperly stored vaccines comes from Pfizer doses being stored in temperatures that were too cold.

They affected those who went to the 54 Meadow Street location between December 23 and February 7.

Details from that are not found in these documents, because at the time it was written, officials did not know the problem was happening.

Hutcherson was on the job when the problem started, but he was terminated on January 18, so he was gone by the time the issue was discovered in early February.

Hutcherson was making $106,000 in this role.

Eyewitness News tried to get in touch with him Tuesday, but none of the phone numbers we had were in service.

The public health nursing director position is still unfilled.