A new girls group called the Pink Pearls has proven its worth by delivering bags of much-needed hygienic supplies to the Waterbrooke assisted living facility.
Last month, Elizabeth City’s Waterbrooke assisted living facility said its elderly and disabled residents needed help.
Enter the Pink Pearls.
The Pink Pearls on Thursday delivered supplies like shampoos and lotions to the residents.
“It’s refreshing to live in a community where you have that kind of response” to people in need, said Waterbrooke Executive Director Dana Rabon, adding the residents in need often lacked help from friends and family.
Rabon said residents’ Medicaid coverage isn’t covering the full cost of their medications and daily necessities.
Waterbrooke staff explained due to reduced Medicaid payments, residents only get $66 a month for their “personal needs allowance” including prescription co-pays. They asked the community donate hygiene items to help them stretch that allowance further.
Pink Pearls President Stevette Gibbs said she started the group about a month ago for activities and community service. Now about two dozen strong, it’s so far helped collect school supplies for needy families and fed the homeless. When she read Waterbrooke’s request for assistance, her girls came together quickly to help.
Gibbs said her group aims to empower girls and encourage them to better their community. Too many kids, she said, “have fallen in the wrong direction.”
Thanks to Pink Pearls and church groups and local businesses, Waterbrooke’s residents are on better footing for a few months, at least.
Rabon said the biggest hit Waterbrooke has taken is in the “Personal Care Services” it charges Medicaid for staff helping residents do routine things like eat, dress and bathe.
Almost two years ago, state law changed to halve the number of monthly hours assisted living facilities can bill Medicaid per patient. It went from 161 hours a month to 80, regardless of whether patients are in special care units.
Patients receiving special care, she explained, typically suffer from dementia and need progressively more care than other patients as their diseases worsen.
In a case of good news and bad news, the General Assembly passed legislation last year allowing some patients to qualify for more hours, but required the Department of Health and Human Services to reduce PCS rates to compensate.
Thursday, Rabon said DHHS started cutting back the PCS rate in October, going from $15.52 to $13.88. The new rate’s retroactive to October, meaning providers will have to reimburse Medicaid in three payments starting in September.
Echoing her staff’s comments last month, Rabon said Waterbrooke has to accept what Medicaid and Medicare pays for taking care of patients; she can’t pass on lost revenue or increased costs to her residents.
Waterbrooke does have a few private pay residents, she added, and it’s trying to keep rates affordable for them as well. She said Waterbrooke hasn’t raised their rates in two years and hopes to make that three.
Pink Pearls is open to girls ages 3-16, and, for more information, call Gibbs at 252-455-4417.