May 19, 2015 12:00 AM
Landrigan: Caregivers to help disabled, elderly stay in their home go on the offensive
CONCORD - Home care givers are hopping mad over Gov. Maggie Hassan’s decision to use a surplus from their budget to increase nursing home rates.
“Unable to wait any longer, applicants instead enter nursing homes for care or sadly they die. Neither institutionalization nor death is a surplus.''
That’s Carolyn Virtue, president of Heritage Care Management that provides home-based care for seniors and those with disabilities.
"It’s very hard to convince somebody to work for a wage that I don’t feel reflects the work that they do where they could just as easily get a job at WalMart or Home Depot,’’ Ryan Donnelly said.
Donnelly struggles to find workers he needs to remain living at home with his dad.
Here’s their beef.
A state law requires New Hampshire make every attempt to keep seniors and disabled in their homes, and the last time they got a bump in rates was back in 2009.
"What is happening in the existing budget is criminal," said Barbara Salvatore, a leader in the volunteer community of these care givers. "It is breaking the law."
Without a rate hike, they say many will be forced to live elsewhere.
"People with disabilities and seniors will have no choice but to return to institutional facilities where most do not wish to be,’’ said Jeff Dickinson with Granite State Independent Living.
Hours later, they got some good news.
The Senate budget now has $118 million more to spend after a tax-writing panel raised the estimate for what should come from existing taxes.
"I think there are some good signs on the horizon that we can see some good revenue generation,’’ said Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, who chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, told NH1 News it’s likely Senate budget writers will tackle the issue of rates for health and human service providers later this week.