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Widower Of Nurse Who Died Of COVID-19 Claims He Was Denied Death Benefits And A Vaccine

Courtesy Kolterman family
Greg and Tracy Kolterman were married in July 2002,

Tracy Kolterman died on Jan. 19 at age 60 after being hospitalized for five weeks. She was a licensed practical nurse at McCrite Plaza, a nursing home in Briarcliff.

The widower of a nurse who died of COVID-19 at a Northland long-term care facility is seeking death benefits under Missouri’s workers’ compensation law after its insurer allegedly denied his claim.

Attorneys for Greg Kolterman also said that after the facility, McCrite Plaza in Briarcliff, learned that he’d retained attorneys to file the claim, it canceled an appointment Kolterman had to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the facility.

“As soon as we sent them our letter of representation, they immediately called our office two days after he buried his wife of COVID and said, ‘We're going to yank the vaccine away from you,’” said Brent Welder, who along with his wife, Kristie Welder, represents Kolterman.

Kolterman’s wife, Tracy Kolterman, died on Jan. 19 at age 60 after being hospitalized for five weeks. She was a licensed practical nurse at McCrite Plaza.

Besides her husband of 18 years, her survivors include three children and 16 grandchildren.

The Welders previously filed a similar workers’ compensation claim on behalf of Celia Yap-Banago, a registered nurse at Research Medical Center who died last year of COVID-19 at age 69. The case was settled on confidential terms in November.

McCrite Plaza is family owned. It operates two locations – the one in Briarcliff in Kansas City, Missouri, and the other in Topeka, Kansas.

Cassidy McCrite, the director of McCrite Plaza, said that because the matter is in litigation, he could not comment on the workers’ compensation claim or the allegation that Greg Kolterman had been denied a vaccine.

McCrite said his parents founded McCrite Plaza in Topeka 50 years ago. The Briarcliff facility, consisting of independent living, assistant living, memory care and skilled nursing units, opened about 10 years ago.

Welder said that McCrite Plaza acknowledged in legal paperwork with the state’s workers’ compensation division that Tracy Kolterman had contracted COVID-19 at work.

“She was assured by Cassidy McCrite that they would qualify her for workers’ compensation payments,” he said.

He said that after Greg Kolterman retained the Welders following the denial of the payments, Cassidy McCrite called the law firm the evening before Kolterman was scheduled to be vaccinated at McCrite Plaza and told the firm, “If Mr. Kolterman is going to be suing me, then he can stand in line and we’re not going to let him in the facility.”

In response, the Welders sent McCrite a letter saying they were “shocked” by the call “and your specific statement that this last-minute decision to yank a promised, life-saving vaccine is based on Mr. Kolterman obtaining legal counsel.”

“Mr. Kolterman is a grieving widower who buried his wife only two days ago,” the letter continued. “This last-minute retaliation against him, while he is mourning his wife, is cruel and wrong.”

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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