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Letter: Erie County needs to hire more health care agencies

Erie County needs to hire more health care agencies

A 43-year-old, wheelchair-bound woman living in Kenmore needs emergency services that Erie County Community Alternative Systems Agency (CASA) refuses to provide even though a fair hearing decision has been issued authorizing daily home health care services. This woman needs assistance with all day/night living functions – bathing, grooming, dressing, meal preparation, toileting, getting into and out of bed. The lack of consistent and reliable services has resulted in her being alone all weekend long and often for long periods of time during the week. She doesn’t eat, can’t get into bed to sleep, can’t use the toilet. What does this result in? Sores and cuts have developed on her lower extremities from soiling herself. Her ankles are swollen from not being able to get into bed. She is hungry from not having meals prepared.

What is Erie County’s response? “We have no agencies that will take the case.” Really? Adult Protective Services has been contacted regarding this deplorable situation. When should aides visit? On the weekends when she is stranded and abandoned completely. Yet no action has been taken.

There are over 100 home health agencies in Erie County, yet CASA contracts with only a handful of these, which purport a lack of staff. Erie County has an obligation to provide the services authorized and ordered. If its current contracted agencies cannot meet the needs of the county’s vulnerable population, it needs to expand its search. What is the county waiting for?

This woman’s health and well-being are declining. When will Erie County take the appropriate action to secure the health and safety of its residents? Does she have to die before the county can staff her hours?

John DeFiore


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