Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism may go without essential care if the agencies that support them don’t get financial help from the state

Written by on May 5, 2020

Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism may go without essential care if the agencies that support them don’t get financial help from the state

By Jen Rehill

May 5, 2020

Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism may go without essential care if the agencies that support them don’t get an influx of cash soon from the state in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Pennsylvania’s direct support agencies are facing several financial challenges right now — changing practices to keep pace with state guidelines, staffing shortages nearing 40-percent, and getting personal protective equipment to keep employees safe. 

Mark Davis is the President of Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability. He says a survey of members showed those costs have gone up by nearly a third. And the average cash on hand would cover less than three days of expenses.

“We have members who are saying, ‘We’re out of staff, we’re out of money, we’re out of PPE, we’re out of time. We need to do something now,’” says  Davis.

And the stakes are high. Tim Sohosky, COO of Bethlehem-based provider the ReDCo Group, says without the direct, in-home care his organization provides such as feeding, dressing and grocery shopping, clients may have to go live in institutions.

“We have to take immediate action to shore up the system or there could be dire consequences. I can’t imagine going back to some kind of institutional system but if the community system collapses under its own weight, that’s exactly what may happen.”

The organizations get nearly 100-percent of their funding from Medicaid. They are calling on the governor to step in with additional money for PPE and hazard pay for staff providing hands-on care to clients – some of whom have the virus.


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