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Roads to Freedom: Some residents ask to be transferred out of nursing home

WILLIAMSPORT — The Lycoming County commissioners have been asked to allocate $250,000 toward the possible transfer of some patients from ManorCare-Jersey Shore, where 19 residents have died and 51 are being treated for the coronavirus.

The request was made at Tuesday’s commissioners meeting by officials from Roads to Freedom Center for Independent Living.

Jody Baney, director of programs and services for the Center, said so far 10 nursing home patients are seeking to transfer from ManorCare.

“This is going to happen with or without your support,” she said.

The commissioners took no action on the issue Tuesday, but seemed at least open to the idea of honoring the request.

Commissioner Scott Metzger said he’d like to see more details on the plan.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito said patients have a legal right to get skilled care.

“At the very least, we can get people out of shared rooms where one person is positive and the other is not,” he said.

Roads to Freedom officials did not disclose the site or sites where the patients might be placed.

“I’m just trying to save lives,” Roads to Freedom CEO Misty Dion said. “We are asking county for expenses for live-in caregivers or shift coverage.”

The $250,000 request, she said, would barely cover all expenses.

Her agency, she noted, would not be making money from the patient care.

“I see no problem with trying to help with our funds,” Commissioner Tony Mussare said, wondering aloud why the state can’t come forward with funding.

Dion noted that 19 ManorCare patients have died from coronavirus.

“The whole point is, we can’t wait for 18, 19 and 20,” she said.

Dion said Dan Klingerman, CEO of Liberty Group, stepped forward to provide funds to cover shelter and meal costs.

Klingerman was unavailable for comment for this story.

“We have the authority at the local level to do something,” Mirabito said.

He said it’s his hope that the county can allocate the money.

“If we have the ability to do it, we have the responsibility to do it,” he said.

John Shireman, of Jersey Shore, noted that he lives within a block of ManorCare and is worried about the situation at the nursing home.

“Something has to be done up there,” he said. “I know four people who have died there. Get it done. This is a time bomb in Jersey Shore.”

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