Mom with special needs child questions PPA

CENTER CITY - July 18, 2012

Anat Caspi's 1-year-old daughter Aviv has a genetic disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a condition making it unlikely that Aviv will live to see her 5th birthday.

After the diagnosis, Anat and her husband, both of whom work full-time, hired 24-hour nursing care due to the baby's needs linked to SMA.

"It requires constant respiratory care, position change, suctioning, she has to be suctioned constantly, so even a nurse leaving to move her car could compromise her airway," Binta Diallo of Bayada Home Health Care said.

The reason nurses would need to move their cars is that the Caspi's live on a street with 2-hour parking and no parking garages nearby.

A slew of parking tickets later, the nurses from Bayada Home Health Care reached out to the Philadelphia Parking Authority for a parking pass.

But the authority only allots 30 day passes and then there's a 45 day waiting period before you can apply for your next pass.

Bayada and the Caspi's say they asked the Authority for a medical exception.

"They said no," Diallo said.

Action News spoke to officials with the Philadelphia Parking Authority on Thursday who say the Caspi family never contacted them.  The agency only was contacted by an employee of the nursing agency.  PPA officials say that person was granted a 30 day permit but did not apply for an extension of that permit.

The PPA also emailed this statement:

The Philadelphia Parking Authority understands that this is a difficult situation requiring special understanding and consideration.

While the law does not allow us to issue annual Residential Parking Permits to individuals who do not live in the permit parking district, we agreed to waive the normal 45 day waiting period between the issuance of visitor permits in this case.  One thirty-day permit was issued on May 30, 2012 and we will issue a second thirty day permit at the residents request to allow them to explore other parking options. We will be happy to review with the parents or the nurses, available parking on nearby blocks which do not have a Residential Permit Parking restriction.

Action News contacted Bayada officials who say that is the first time anyone from the Authority has mentioned anything about an amicable solution.

In a statement to Action News, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson says he is looking into legislative options for home healthcare workers who deal with complicated outpatient situations to see if they can receive long term parking permits for the areas in which they service patients.

Meantime, Anat Caspi says this whole situation has been a stressful and expensive distraction, when all she and her husband want is to enjoy the time they have left with their daughter.

"It was just unfathomable to me that this situation would arise with the Parking Authority. Use some judgment and reason, where did that all go?" Caspi said.

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