Local News

Proposed N.C. budget has personal impact

Posted April 22, 2010
Updated April 23, 2010

Born with cerebral palsy, Valerie Harper is paralyzed on her right side. Swollen limbs and severe arthritis, she says, cause her constant pain.

"I can't stand very long. I can't walk that far," Harper, 51, said Thursday.

Yet, she lives on her own, with the help of an aide who comes in two to three hours a day, five to six days a week, to assist with day-to-day tasks such as fixing meals, dressing and bathing.

Proposed N.C. budget has personal impact Proposed N.C. budget has personal impact

"She's really like a part of me," Harper said.

But proposed budget cuts could leave Harper and thousands of others who qualify for a state-funded program called In-Home Personal Care Services without that extra help they need to live independently.

Gov. Bev Perdue's $19 billion spending plan, which includes cutting about $386 million from the Department of Health and Human Services' budget, recommends eliminating the program and creating a new one for adults with the most severe needs.

Patient advocates say the move would force thousands of people from their homes and into state facilities, where the cost of care is more expensive.

Vicki Smith, executive director of Disability Rights North Carolina, says a federal lawsuit is inevitable because the cuts violate the rights of disabled residents.

She says she believes the governor's decision is based on budgetary concerns, not patient needs.

"There will be people with higher needs successfully living in the community and people with lesser needs forced into a more costly, restrictive setting," Smith said.

Harper says the cost to her and countless others is their quality of life.

"I don't ever want to think about going to that, because I know it would take away my independence and my pride," she said. "When you don't have that, you ain't got nothing."

16 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • charrelson2 Apr 23, 2010

    THIS IS OUTRAGOUS!HOW CAN BEV PERDURE EVEN THINK THAT THIS IS GOING TO HELP US WHEN THE COST OF NOT HAVING THIS PROGRAMS IS GOING TO TRUMP THE COST ITS PAYING NOW! STOP SITTING DOWN AND LETTING PEOPLE ABUSE THE PROGRAM AND ENFORCE THE RULES. JUST BECAUSE YOU MAKE NEW ONES DOESNT MEAN ANYTHING WILL CHANGE IF YOU DONT ENFORCE THEM!!!!! DONT CUT THE PROGRAM THAT MANY ARE COUNTING ON TO MAKE IT DAY TO DAY!

  • ttaylor2 Apr 23, 2010

    Yes, the state budget does need some trimming, but does it have to be at the expense of the elderly and disable. I really don't think the state has looked at the effects from every angle. The nursing home placements will increase, and the unemployemnt rate will be out of this world. I pray that the state add in there budget the cost of hiring hundreds APS workers that it will need to do intake of clients going without their daily needs being met. The first report should be made against the state for abuse and neglect of the edlerly and disable.

  • takeastand Apr 23, 2010

    This program saves the state money!! Hello BEV....Think of the 37000 patient that are in this program. How broke is the state going to be if they are placed not to mention the number of people that will be out of work.

    Shouldn't the elderly and disable have to opportunity to live at home if they chose too????

  • Pirate4ever Apr 23, 2010

    Why can't she hire her own help? There are a lot of people in NC looking for jobs! Don't you guys see how this would help our job market!

  • burnhace Apr 23, 2010

    From the article:
    "Gov. Bev Perdue's $19 billion spending plan, which includes cutting about $386 million from the Department of Health and Human Services' budget, recommends eliminating the program and creating a new one for adults with the most severe needs."

    OK, I think the story says "...eliminating the program and creating a new one for adults with the most severe needs."

    That's "... creating a new one...".

    So, in the face of those words, without further elaboration, an impact statement of some kind seems premature.

  • Stormy13 Apr 23, 2010

    All State decisions are based on budgetary concerns, not patient needs. This goes for State employees as well. We are dictated to by the State, insurance companies and others that are not licensed to do so and think they know better than our own doctors! It is a said state this country has gotten in to and as I get closer to retirement my fears are getting greater!

  • miketroll3572 Apr 23, 2010

    The state is out of money, there is no more. They have gone to the well to many times and people have become dependent on it. And now we hear that obamas health care plan will cost more than expected, and people are gonna suffer because it will cost more with less services.

  • Iconoclast Apr 23, 2010

    Some of our most vulnerable citizens are cut off but if a like amount was wanted to induce a new industry to come here, they'd have it in a heartbeat. What's the use of even 500 jobs if thousands get put out of their homes? If we choose not to take care of our sick and elderly, what does that say about us? Who would want to come to such a cold hearted state?

  • wilmingtonNC Apr 23, 2010

    Change I cannot believe in. :(

  • PeaceOut2017 Apr 23, 2010

    All you tax increase wantin' democrats should chip in and pay for this po' woman's care

More...