NY Group Homes Face Mounting Challenges From Coronavirus

Photo credit Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The direct support staff who care for residents with chronic medical needs in Hudson Valley group homes are facing mounting challenges over the coronavirus outbreak.

Jill Warner, the CEO of Jawonio, a premiere provider of lifespan services, said one of her employees has died from coronavirus and that others are sick, so she has to offer incentive pay—but the money is quickly running out.

“If we didn’t exist, the people in our group homes would be in nursing homes,” Warner said.

Warner said the biggest challenge for group home workers is “not being seen as a vital health care provider and not being treated as a vital health care provider when it comes down to recognizing the costs to take care of the most frail individuals.”

“We’re having the same problems that hospitals are having, but we’re not getting all the stimulus money that the hospitals are getting,” Warner said.

Meanwhile, a 2 percent Medicaid cut is looming in New York this summer.

“The worst insult that we have gotten is that the governor is doing a 2 percent, across-the-board Medicaid cut to all of the providers on July 1,” Warner said. “And this was a plan that he had in place since October and we’ve been appealing to him, ‘How can you do a 2 percent cut when we’re all paying our staff incentives to come in and trying to keep residents healthy?’”

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