Tom Dinki

Reporter

Tom Dinki joined WBFO in August 2019 to cover issues affecting older adults.

Tom is a Buffalo native and 2016 University at Buffalo graduate, holding a B.A. in English and journalism certificate. While at UB, he served as editor in chief of the university's independent student newspaper, The Spectrum.

After graduating from UB, Tom spent three years as a reporter for the Olean Times Herald, where he covered mostly crime and education throughout Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

His three-part education series, "The state of New York rural schools: Left behind," won a 2018 New York Associated Press first-place Enterprise Reporting Award, second-place Investigative and Watchdog Reporting Award, and first-place Data Visualization Award.

When he’s not eating, sleeping and breathing the news, Tom likes to ride his bike and watch — and more importantly, discuss and debate — movies and television.

You can follow him on Twitter, @tomdinki.

Ways to Connect

WBFO file photo

The New York State Legislature passed a “safe staffing” bill for nursing homes on Tuesday, requiring that the often understaffed facilities provide at least 3.5 hours of direct nursing care to each resident.

 

  

Darren McGee/Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended his handling of nursing home data while speaking in Buffalo Thursday, as more details emerged about his alleged cover-up of the true death toll.

 

  

Scajaquada Corridor Coalition

The American Jobs Plan, President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion infrastructure proposal includes reconnecting neighborhoods cut off by expressways. In Buffalo, advocates hope that means it’s finally time to remove the Scajaquada Expressway.

 


Kevin P. Coughlin (Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will hold a COVID-19 update at 11:30 a.m. in Syracuse. Watch it live here.

Tom Dinki/WBFO file photo

The 2021 New York state budget will push the impending 340B “carve-out” to 2023, providing something of a victory for health care providers who had said they stood to lose millions of dollars.

Tom Dinki/WBFO file photo

New York nursing homes will be required to put nearly three quarters of their money toward caring for residents, as a nursing home profit cap was included in the 2021 New York State budget.

Tom Dinki/WBFO file photo

Nursing home finances have come under scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the New York State Legislature is considering a measure to limit how much nursing homes can profit, which proponents say will mean better care for residents and opponents say will just harm the industry.

 

 

  

Erie County

The number of New Yorkers able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is about to dramatically increase, as those 30 and older became eligible Tuesday and those 16 and older will be eligible starting next week. Luckily for Erie County, it’s about to receive its largest weekly vaccine allocation yet.


Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills officially have a new name for their stadium, as the team has reached a naming rights agreement with health insurer Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York. 

 


Schofield Adult Day Health Care

Adult Day Health Care, which provides medical services and socialization to disabled adults of all ages, will be allowed to reopen in New York state after a year-long closure. The New York State Department of Health issued guidance Thursday evening allowing Adult Day Health Care, or ADHC, to resume in-person services as soon as April 1. 

 


Tori Allen/FeedMore WNY

FeedMore WNY is holding its annual Champions for Meals this week,  where government officials and community leaders help deliver meals to homebound older adults to raise awareness for FeedMore’s Meals on Wheels program. It also marks 12 months since the COVID-19 pandemic began. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki provides a look at how Meals on Wheels has more than doubled its client base in that time.

 


Evergreen Health

A New York state law due to take effect in one week could pose a financial challenge to Western New York health care providers that service some of the area’s most marginalized patients. 

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Parents rallied Tuesday to demand Erie County ease social distancing rules in schools and allow students to attend full time, while county officials maintained the decision is out of their hands.

Schofield Adult Day Health Care

New York state has allowed doctor’s offices to remain open during the pandemic and reopened day programs for the developmentally disabled. It’s even loosened visitor restrictions at nursing homes.

 

Yet Adult Day Health Care, which provides medical services and socialization for disabled adults of all ages, has remained closed since the pandemic began. This week marked one year since the state ordered the programs to close, and now families are speaking out.


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Erie County’s COVID-19 infection rate has been falling since January and about a quarter of county residents have received at least the first dose of the vaccine. So Republicans in the county Legislature are questioning why County Executive Mark Poloncarz still has emergency powers.

 

  

WBFO file photo

It was a year ago Monday that Erie County declared a state of emergency over COVID-19. The ensuing sickness, death and shutdowns has changed life as we knew it. Here’s a look from the WBFO staff at the lingering effects the pandemic has had on Western New York.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Calls are growing for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign in light of allegations of sexual harassment and a cover-up of nursing home deaths. Now New York Republicans are preparing for that possibility and trying to put the microscope on the person who would succeed Cuomo: the lieutenant governor and Buffalo native Kathy Hochul.


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The American Rescue Plan Act, recently passed by the Senate and awaiting approval from the House of Representatives, is set to provide $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief. How much of it will be coming to Western New York?


Tom Dinki/WBFO file photo

New York lawmakers are looking to pass sweeping nursing home reforms this legislative session in light of COVID-19. One piece of legislation that predates the pandemic is a safe staffing bill, which would mandate nursing homes meet minimum staffing ratios. 


Erie County

Erie County’s COVID-19 infection and hospital rates continue to decline, but a more dangerous variant of the virus has now been confirmed in the county. 

 

Southern Administrative Services

The Green House Project, a national network of small nursing homes, has received plenty of attention for its low rates of COVID-19 during the pandemic. A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study recently called it a “promising model” for the reinvention of nursing homes in a post-pandemic world.

 

But just how replicable is it? Providers and advocates say there are still plenty of financial hurdles to cross before more nursing homes look like Green House homes. 

 

  

Thomas O'Neil-White/WBFO file photo

Martin Gugino, the elderly protester who was pushed by Buffalo police in an incident seen around the world last year, is now suing the City of Buffalo.


Beth Adams/WXXI News

COVID-19 has killed over 13,000 nursing home residents in New York state alone, and about a third of all U.S. COVID deaths have been linked to skilled nursing facilities. But a group of small nursing homes, including a facility near Rochester, have fared better against the virus than their larger, more traditional counterparts. 

 

 


WBFO file photo

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn is warning about elder fraud cases after two defendants pleaded guilty Tuesday to defrauding vulnerable people they were supposed to protect.

 


Darren McGree/Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent most of his COVID-19 briefing Monday defending his administration’s handling of nursing homes, but, amid growing scrutiny over his own actions, he also for the first time endorsed limiting how much nursing homes can profit over resident care.

 


New York State Senate Republicans

Republicans in the New York State Legislature, in their effort to investigate Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes, are turning to a somewhat unlikely ally: President Joe Biden.

 


FBI

Pete Harding, the Cheektowaga man charged in last month’s U.S. Capitol riot, made a brief virtual appearance in federal court on Tuesday. Meanwhile, recently disclosed court documents accuse Harding of discussing his riot participation on social media. 

 

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO file photo

The New York State Attorney General’s Office report released Thursday, which found the state Department of Health may have underreported nursing home COVID-19 deaths by 50%, makes plenty of mentions about Western New York nursing homes’ struggle to provide personal protective equipment and follow infection protocols during the pandemic.

 

  

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is celebrating the discharge of a COVID-19 patient after 67 days, although it continues to battle against the second wave of the pandemic. 

 

  

Nick Lippa/WBFO News

Pete Harding, the Cheektowaga man charged in the storming of the U.S. Capitol, will be subject to electronic monitoring and a curfew after federal prosecutors accused him of refusing to tell the FBI where he was.

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