To Gov. Tim Walz,
My name is Jim Lovold and I am a disabled man with spina bifida who relies on PCA services to get through life every day. I am also a disability advocate. This is to let you know another side of the PCA story. I know that you recently did a walk through with the lieutenant governor with a recipient of the PCA services and their PCA. I have another side of the story that doesn’t get talked about, of what happens when you don’t have the services to get you through the day or your life.
My adventure started on January 28, 2019 when I needed to go to the hospital for an infection. I was in the hospital for three weeks. I was discharged from the hospital on February 22, 2019. When I was discharged from the hospital, I did not have a PCA to help me with my care when I was to be going home. I had worked on this issue with a CADI waiver person and a few different PCA agencies to see if we could find PCAs ready to work when I get back home. No luck.
Because of having no PCA services I had to go to a transitional care unit or TCU until I was able to find PCAs to cover the shifts needed. That took about three weeks to process. Everyone was working hard to get a good situation going. Once everything was in place again for me to go home, I went back home for 2 and one half months. I left the TCU on March 13, 2019. That didn’t last long, again due to the PCA shortage.
PCAs were moving forward to making more money leaving me without help again. May 28, 2019, I checked into the emergency room at the hospital because of the PCA shortage. That’s because you need to get to the emergency room before you can just go to transitional care because doctors’ orders are needed. I was there until May 30, 2019 until another bed opened up back at the TCU. I stayed at the TCU until June 4, 2019 again, until I found help once again. This one being a better situation for me anyway! End of the journey. Finally back home where I belong.
Thank you, governor, for taking the time to read my email on this very important subject affecting me and several others out there. We really need to get this done before me and others like me end up in NURSING HOMES for life. Please let the pay rate happen sooner than later! We need that pay raise capped off now. We need to get the $15 per hour for the PCAs now.
Disability Advocate, St. Paul