by Sue Ann Rybak
After the losing its license last month to operate community homes for individuals with disabilities, Blossom Philadelphia informed families in an email that it will transition its residential services for adults with intellectual disabilities to four other providers.
The letter written by Paula Czyzewski, Blossom’s chief executive officer, did not identify the new providers, but said the Chestnut Hill nonprofit would work closely with the Office of Developmental Programs, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and Intellectual disAbility Services to ensure a smooth transition.
“This decision was made after a thorough analysis of the residential program and our ability to continue to meet the needs of the adults we serve in our community homes,” Czyzewski said in a separate statement. “Our primary concern is and always has been the people we serve and we strive to provide all of our services with integrity.”
Marianne Roche, an intellectual-disabilities expert who worked in the industry for 50 years, said she and other advocates “hope that the change in providers offers good services and safety for people with intellectual and physical disabilities and restoration of trust.”
“Trust has been broken,” she said. “And the lack of communication by Blossom, the city and state hasn’t helped.”
Audrey “Dee” Coccia, co-executive director of Vision for Equality, a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of intellectually disabled folks and their families, said the organization and families were “pleased” Blossom was going to transfer care for the clients.
“Families are very worried,” Coccia said. “We are relatively pleased that they are going to give care to other providers, but who that will be is a concern. We want to make sure they have very qualified providers coming in.”
She added that earlier this week, a member of her staff visited a client and discovered he had bedsores.
“Supposedly, they are sending other people in there to prevent things like that,” she said.
Coccia voiced her concerns about the need for more oversight during this transition, including concerns about bedsores, the risk of staph infections and clients with feeding tubes.
“The truth is some providers are not used to handling people with significant health issues,” she said.
“I think once we see who the [new] providers are and how qualified they are and what the transition plan is going to look like, we will feel better.”
Blossom Philadelphia said it will continue to provide day program services for adults and children with an intellectual disability or autism while exploring the development of new services.