Bizzarro hosts House Democratic Policy hearing on the struggles facing personal assistance, home-based care

ERIE, Oct. 4 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, held a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to learn more about the issues surrounding personal assistance service providers. 

The hearing was held Monday at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center and was co-chaired by Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.

"Personal assistance service providers deliver home and community-based care services that allow people to stay in their homes instead of entering nursing facilities," Bizzarro said. “What we learned today from some of those who provide personal assistance to the disabled and the elderly on a daily basis is that they help people maintain their independence, and that's a valuable resource."

Bizzarro also said that they learned from the testifiers that the personal assistance service field is a tough one, with low pay and high turnover, which not only impacts workers, but also those they care for.

Sturla said, "It's important that workers earn a living wage that is commensurate with the level of care and service they provide. Representative Bizzarro is leading the discussion to ensure that great care is provided to those who need and that involves retaining a caring workforce that is paid a fair wage."

"The providers who testified said that workforce retention is a major challenge and they're losing workers to less challenging industries, such as fast food and retail," Bizzarro said. "This is an important issue, as home care does provide savings and better health outcomes over nursing home care."

Testifiers included: Carl Berry, Finance Committee chair, PA Providers Coalition Association; Chi Bon, social services manager, Helpmates Inc.; Deborah Pavlek, director, Family to Family Home Healthcare; and Shona Eakin, executive director, Voices for Independence.

Hearing materials and additional information about the Policy Committee will be available at www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee.