Vermont homecare attendants tell budget makers to expand funding for people with disabilities and the elderly

NEWS RELEASE

Nov. 13, 2012

Contact:
Karen Conner,
AFSCME Vermont Homecare United,
802-322-4504,klconner@afscme.org

WILLISTON – Homecare providers addressed budget makers tonight at the Vermont Department of Finance & Management, telling them to expand funding for programs that allow home care for people with disabilities and the elderly.

Homecare providers were prepared to speak via linked TV at six locations: Bennington, Montpelier, Newport, Rutland, St. Albans and White River Junction. This is the first of the state’s new budget process that seeks input from the public to determine the public’s funding priorities and what funding levels are needed for the next state budget. Here’s what they had to say:

Brian McAllister from St. Johnsbury:
“If I put my Mom in nursing home it would cost the state about $43,000. It would cost the state a lot more than paying for home care. It’s not just the cost, it is the also the care. If my Mom was in a nursing home, she wouldn’t have made it this long.”

Bonnie McDonald from Bennington:
“Currently our programs are being run by private companies without much oversight. These programs are free to spend our tax dollars as they see fit and they do not always go to the consumers in the most appropriate way possible.”

Ted McGruder from White River Junction:
“I’d rather do this than any other job. I’m able to give back; able to see a big difference in another person’s life. And it gives them a good feeling about themselves. Let’s make sure the people who make the budget don’t forget how important homecare can be to Vermont families.”

Paula Brady from Holland:
“Please continue to fund and expand funding for home care services. It saves the state money, and the elderly and disabled get good care right in the familiar surroundings of their homes.”

Cheryl Federico in Barre,
“I think that there should be mandatory funding for this caregiving. It is less expensive for the tax payer than institutionalization where my consumer would not learn to be independent. Home health care is not considered a budget priority.”

Carol Delage in St. Albans
“I’ve been a homecare attendant for 25 years. I think home care programs are important because there are a lot of people who need our help.”

Judy D’Amico in Benson:
“If I were to stay here in Vermont, I would want quality home care and would want the homecare attendant paid properly. Please consider this when making your budget decisions. Fund home care programs fully.”

Homecare providers face cuts to their already meager pay and work hours. Yet statistics show that developmentally disabled people in supervised living, where patients live at home, cost only $14,327 the per person a year in FY 2011, while someone in an institutional setting is $210,221, according to the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Services 2012 Annual Report.

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