Officials talk funding for ManorCare residents
Center for Independent Living North Central Pennsylvania CEO Misty Dion has made it clear that her agency will do what it can to move patients from a nursing home where many have been infected by the coronavirus.
Funding from Lycoming County will certainly help, but is not imperative to make it happen.
Her agency is ready to front the costs for ManorCare-Jersey Shore residents who would be moved to a hotel for patient care.
“We are asking the county to allocate $250,000 to start to offset care,” Dion said. “We are going to bill the county for actual costs as reimbursement.”
As yet, the county has not approved that money, but all indications are the allocation will be made, according to County Commissioner Rick Mirabito.
“We can make a decision without a formal vote because a Disaster Declaration for the state has been declared,” he said. “For us to stand by and do nothing is irresponsible.”
“More than 20 people from ManorCare Jersey Shore have died from COVID-19, according to Dion.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is to allocate $65,000 for hotel costs and meals. Liberty Group CEO Dan Klingerman has announced his company will cover any shortfall to ensure the program is viable.
“Misty and the people with Center for Independent Living deserve a lot of credit,” Mirabito said. “Now, it’s up to the rest of us to see what we can do as elected officials.”
State Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, who had sought answers about coronavirus infections at ManorCare, said officials must first determine what patients are willing to leave the nursing facility.
“Some of them may not be able to make decisions on their own,” he said.
Everett also questioned what happens when the initial dollars being allocated for patient care and lodging are used up.
Dion said Home and Community Based Services funded by Medicaid can be tapped for those patients.
She said patients could return to ManorCare, a home setting or elsewhere.
Dion and Mirabito defended using county funds to get the patient care plan started.
“It is absolutely appropriate to fund this and get people out of the nursing home,” Mirabito said.
He noted that some of the county inmate population was moved out of the jail this spring to better protect prisoners and employees from coronavirus.
“We did it for prisoners. We should do it for the elderly,” he said.
Dion noted that the official Disaster Declaration for the county certainly makes it appropriate to receive county funds for moving patients.
“These people have a right to not have to stay there,” she said.
Added Mirabito: “Just because we are going green doesn’t mean people aren’t dying.”