Local caregivers rally to save services - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local caregivers rally to save services

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Local home care workers have teamed up with their clients in hopes their message will be heard by legislators.

Dozens of caregivers and their clients held a rally Monday, in the Shopko parking lot in Union Gap.

The group left on buses around 5:00 p.m. They were headed to Olympia to protest the governor's proposed cuts on long-term care to seniors and people with disabilities.

Organizers say they want to lobby legislators to stop the cuts that would have impact on the most vulnerable.

Caregiver Bobbie Schierman says the proposed cuts would hurt the healthcare workers and their patients.

"And if the caregiver can't be there to take care of them, and they put them in a nursing home, that's going to cost the state 3-4 times what it costs for home care," Schierman said.

Adam Glickman-Flora, SEIU Healthcare 775NW, says about 350 home care workers from across the state will march in Olympia Tuesday. The event is from noon until 1:00 p.m. in front of the Legislative Building.

Gov. Chris Gregoire outlined her strategy in "transforming Washington's budget," currently at a $4.6 billion budget shortfall.

The governor proposed the elimination of the Basic Health Plan beginning March 1, 2011. All insurance subsidized through this plan will be eliminated, which affects 66,000 individuals, saving approximately $27 million in General Fund-State and about $21 million in other funds.

Gregoire also proposed eliminating the Disability Lifeline Grant and Medical programs, saving about $43 million in General Fund-State and $22.6 million in federal funds.

"The safety net will be stretched thin in some places and eliminated entirely in others," Gregoire said. "For the functions that government no longer will be able to provide, we must turn to neighbors, private charities, faith-based organizations and other local programs. Our communities, more than ever, will be asked to step up."

For more information on Gov. Gregoire's budget proposal, click on the following link: http://www.governor.wa.gov/priorities/budget/default.asp.