State looking at home health care cuts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State looking at home health care cuts

March 29, 2004

Albany- Almost everything about Nicki Spicer's day includes a little help from her home nurse Anne Gregoir.

Whether it's shopping and watching her budget or deciding what's for dinner, getting it cooked and on the table.

"I couldn't get around without anybody," said 27-year-old Spicer who is confined to a wheelchair.

So that's why Anne is here. "Mainly, to take care of her," Gregoir said. "Because she really has to have total assistance, 24 hours."

The state pays for all of Nicki's home care. But the amount of home care she gets could change.

The Department of Community Health needs to cut $140 million from its budget. The plan is to reduce home therapy visits from 75 a year to 50 a year. That would save $7 million during the next two years.

But seeing less of the doctor adds more challenges to the lives of people like Spicer.

"They're going to have to pay for it out of their pockets or they're just going to wait until the situation gets so bad, and that will probably lead to some type of hospitalization if it gets too bad," said Angela Whitaker, a consumer care coordinator with Statewide Healthcare Services in Albany.

Having Gregoir around and being able to see a doctor when she needs gives Spicer the chance to focus on more important things like a few of her favorite shows. Without this help, Spicer couldn't survive.

"I think I'd perish, ya know, without that. I think I'd perish."

For now, Spicer will keep on living every day right here at home, comforted knowing that Gregoir will be back in her home tomorrow.

posted at 9:56 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com