WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Luzerne and Lackawanna County leaders are contributing a combined $500,000 to the Northeastern Pennsylvania SOS program as a part of continued efforts to provide needed medical supplies for nursing homes and long term care facilities.
Nursing homes and long term care facilities have been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak across the nation and in Pennsylvania.
A local non-profit group called Northeaster Pennsylvania Nursing Home SOS is once again stepping up to get resources like personal protective equipment into facilities that need them. The group started months ago with a single mission: to make sure that nursing home operators, like Allied Services, have the resources needed to protect their patients and staff.
Jim Brogna, from Allied Services, expressed his gratitude to Eyewitness News after hearing that the Northeastern Pennsylvania Nursing Home SOS was teaming up with Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties to donate $500,000 to the operators of long term care facilities.
Allied Services operates five nursing homes in our region including three in Luzerne County and two in Lackawanna County.
“As we had struggled for weeks to get the right pieces of Personal Protective Equipment certainly with funding on our own during that period so. We are so grateful to Senator Yudichak’s initiative,” Brogna said.
Word of the funding came during a zoom conference Thursday morning. Eyewitness News was inside the Nanticoke offices of Senator John Yudichak, the driving force behind the effort. He was joined by Luzerne and Lackawanna County officials as well as members of organizations such as the AllOne Foundation that support the effort.
“It’s really a public private relationship to help our nursing home residents that are dying at an alarmingly higher rate than the general public in this public health crisis,” Yudichak said.
Luzerne and Lackawanna County will each donate $250,000 to the cause.
“We now know that our nursing homes are the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis here in Luzerne County and here in northeastern Pennsylvania so you pivot and you fix it and get the things to people who need them,” Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri said.
Several months ago Northeastern Pennsylvania Nursing Home SOS donated a half million dollars to long term care facilities in our region. This effort was prompted by complaints from the operators of those facilities that there just weren’t enough resources, such as masks available. They say help from the state was simply not adequate.
“It’s a very sad thing to know that our most vulnerable citizens are the ones who are suffering the most. I do believe this is the most important thing for all of us to do,” Lackawanna County Commissioner Debi Domenick said.
NEPA Nursing Home SOS has also lobbied for legislation that would ensure that the State provide additional resources moving forward.