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Posted: 10:22 p.m. Monday, June 4, 2012
By Blair Miller
CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. —
A home health care program that serves hundreds of Caldwell County residents was given a temporary stay after dozens of people rolled out their wheelchairs in support of the program.
One by one, people fought through their medical conditions to voice their concerns over the proposal to cut the program.
Barbara Miller is a member of one of 300 families that rely on the county’s home health agency for patients who cannot care for themselves.
The program helps her care for her husband who suffers from dementia.
Miller said she cannot imagine the county commissioners eliminating the program.
“I’d like for them to come and stay with me for one week and let them see what we go through with our family members, and they would not take it away,” she said.
The program has been in place for more than 30 years.
The county commission chairman argued it was once a revenue producer for the county, but now it’s losing money because of competition from private businesses.
County health workers wanted more time to look for more options.
“It would've been nice if we would've had a little more preparation time to find out, you know, what they were expecting and what they wanted,” said Sharon Martinat.
But after hearing the passionate please, commissioners decided to give the county health department 90 days to come up with a plan to turn the program around.
When they present that plan, the board will then make a decision on the next step.
Health Director Denise Michaud said they will aggressively look for ways to save money.
“Certainly we'll take a look at our operations from staffing to the use of contractual services; I guess any number of areas that would affect the bottom line,” she said.
The program’s closure would also impact the 15 people who work there because those jobs would be eliminated.
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