Advocates are warning a number of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare policy changes are endangering the agencies that provide services to people with disabilities in their homes and communities.
Some of the changes have just been proposed, some have already been implemented. But people who get the in-home care and the organizations who provide the services say regulatory changes from the state are making them scramble to provide the same care with fewer resources.
Zach Lewis, who gets around in a wheelchair, lives by himself in Philadelphia. He gets in-home care, but he says it’s been harder and harder to come by.
“That means for me, not being able to get turned and get weight shifts the right way, properly, when needed,” said Lewis. “That can cause for me to break down, my skin to break down, and infection to set in.”
Lewis says if the service organizations continue to feel pinched by less funding and new restrictions, he can see a day when he’d have to live in an institution. It’s a concern echoed by consumers and social workers alike.
The chairman of the House Human Services Committee says he might try to push the issue by voting to not extend a state law allowing policy changes in DPW to bypass a review process.