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Capitol Correspondence - 05.05.20

ANCOR Quoted as Media Highlights Disability Community’s COVID-19 Struggles

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Two national news outlets, Disability Scoop and Politico Pro, reported on the devastation the coronavirus has been inflicting on the disability community, with Disability Scoop quoting ANCOR COO Gabrielle Sedor. To further elevate the voice of this community and its needs during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are assisting ANCOR members with placing letters to the editor or op-eds in news outlets. Please contact Doris Parfaite-Claude, Federal Advocacy and Research Manager, for more information at [email protected].

Disability Scoop story: Disability Providers Struggling to Stay Afloat Amid COVID-19. “Service providers nationwide are contending with lost revenues, higher costs and new challenges as they work to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. […]

All told, the changes stemming from COVID-19 represent 40 percent of the providers’ annual revenue, on average.

The findings come from an April survey conducted by the American Network of Community Options and Resources, or ANCOR, a national trade group representing disability service providers. The data was analyzed by Avalere, a Washington-based health care consulting firm.

‘It’s staggering,’ said Gabrielle Sedor, chief operations officer at ANCOR, of the results, which the group released late last week. ‘What the survey is showing us is that providers really are on the brink and they’re in dire need of fiscal relief.’

More than half of providers surveyed said they only have enough cash on hand to continue providing services for another five or six weeks, Sedor noted. While most continue to be paid for at least some services, she said they’re strained.”

Politico Pro story: Disabled, elderly going without home care amid shortage of protective gear and tests (abbreviated, free version available via Politico Pulse).

“Millions of high-needs home care patients and their low-wage caregivers face enormous risks as the coronavirus crisis reveals deep gaps in government oversight and resources for this often-overlooked branch of the health system.

 […]

The crisis is exacerbating the home care shortages that existed even before the pandemic, creating long waits for families trying to keep their elderly or disabled relatives out of hospitals filled with Covid-19 patients or now-hazardous nursing homes.

A survey of more than 1,000 home health agencies in all 50 states by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice found that more than half had laid off staff — and 96 percent reported that at least some patients refuse services during the pandemic.

[…]

The administration took steps last Thursday to expand home-based medical care, including more money for meal deliveries and telehealth — but it didn’t address the protective equipment and testing needs of home health agencies or their clients. Home care advocates say some of the drop-off in home care amid the pandemic could have been avoided if workers and patients were protected and had a way to track whether they have been exposed.

Many workers describe ways they have had to repeatedly reuse scarce protective gear, or improvise by, for instance, turning plastic soda bottles into makeshift face shields.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which finances some home care through those two government health programs, did not respond to a request for comment. The White House has said testing capacity is improving, as well as supplies of PPE.

[…]

Data is limited on how the pandemic is affecting the hundreds of thousands of home health aides — which include a disproportionate number of immigrant women who, in the best of times, earn low pay and no benefits for work that can be physically and emotionally exhausting — or the millions of fragile seniors and people with disabilities who depend on them.”