COVID-19: Leo’s Letter: Appreciating Our Direct Support Staff, More Than Ever Before

“In her mask, Angela drove the group home’s wheelchair transport van to Sentara Hospital in Woodbridge, the feverish resident strapped in behind her, medically unable to wear a face covering. Hours later, still unsure whether the resident had the coronavirus, Angela drove her back home.”

This excerpt is from an article published yesterday in the Washington Post, and the article is a tough one to read. We read first-hand about what staff face in group home settings, yet we can’t seem to reasonably pay them even in a crisis.

Today, we face the second surge. It’s real. And we know:

  • Group home settings have not received adequate compensation for the day-time staff and other COVID related costs since July 1.
  • Group day settings cannot bill enough to cover their costs, based even with the increased billing in place. A sample of agencies in August showed costs running 1.5 times to 2.5 times the ability to collect revenue while a quick snapshot of a handful of day services in the fall reflects costs ranging from 1.3 times to 2.4 times the revenue collected.
  • We need to reach families with more assistance as we did in the spring.

These services are essential, and they are publicly funded. But allowance needs to be made for the additional costs, or settings will close, infections will rise at a higher rate, and staff may not withstand the challenges they face.

Our constituents are at more risk along with their families and staff, as has been recently reported in the New York Times and NPR. The Commonwealth should respond now as December approaches.

Thanksgiving is a time of appreciation. Let’s continue that tradition.

One Comment:

  1. My daughter is a 30 year old woman who lives in a group home. The direct care staff that take care of her have the most difficult job in the world, and deserve to be well compensated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *