News10NBC Investigates: Doctor who raised alarm meets with leaders of state group homes

[anvplayer video=”5076478″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The doctor who raised alarm about the temporary closure of group homes met with the people who oversee group homes and their closures Thursday.

People with developmental disabilities often live in group homes and dozens were moved from their homes when they were temporarily closed around Thanksgiving.

News10NBC was waiting outside the local offices when the doctor walked out.

Dr. David Breen walked out of the offices of Finger Lakes DDSO in Brighton after an hour and a half meeting with the people responsible for group homes.

Here’s what he told me at his doctor’s office Wednesday.

Brean: "When we spoke on the phone this morning you described the situation as disastrous."

Dr. Breen: "It is."

Here’s what he said today.

Brean: "Do you feel better today than you did yesterday when we talked?"

Dr. Breen: "Yes."

Brean: "Why?"

Dr. Breen: "Well I appreciate and trust the department chairmen who are in the meeting today and the director and his assurances that they are working very hard to keep these changes temporary."

Dr. Breen practices in Geneseo and Dansville and is chair of the Board of Visitors for group homes.

In the past two weeks, the state Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) temporarily closed 11 group homes because of what it calls a "workforce shortage of crisis proportions."

About half of the homes closed are in Livingston County.

The residents were moved into larger homes.

"I was assured that there’s no one today who is living on a mattress in a day treatment center," Dr. Breen said.

Brean: "Could they give you assurances as to when the homes will reopen?"

Dr. Breen: "No. Just that the commissioner and the governor are doing their best and are aware of the problem."

OPWDD says the state has a $1.5 billion fund to recruit new direct care nurses and aides.