MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A crowd of healthcare workers were shocked -- and many of them irate on Tuesday, April 30th after learning the state has shut down Deaconess Home Health. Tuesday was pay day for Deaconess employees, and those employees gathered outside the Deaconess offices on South 35th Street in Milwaukee when they realized they wouldn't be getting paid.
"People have to pay their bills. People have to pay their rent, their light bill. Some need to buy food," Lillian Lewis said.
In addition to the workers, 2,400 elderly and disabled people are impacted by this move. They rely on Deaconess workers to help them in their daily lives.
The shutdown of Deaconess now means a headache for case managers trying to find other workers on an emergency basis to help. They are prioritizing those with high needs, and are calling patients and linking them up with new agencies.
"This is a critical service keeping people at home. If an individual needs home health services and doesn't have them available to them, then you are looking at a possible emergency room visit or hospitalization, a possible nursing home stay. If you need home health services that's a critical need. That's a medical need," Maria Ledger with Milwaukee County Family Care said.
Some, like Rebecca Davis, don't know where to turn for help.
"Now I have to go through the phone book and find another health care (provider)," Davis said.
There are resources available to those looking for in-home health care:
Disability Resource Center (people 18-59) – 414-289-6660
Aging Resource Center (people over 60) – 414-289-6874